How old is glacier ice?

    • The age of the oldest glacier ice in Antarctica may approach 1,000,000 years old
    • The age of the oldest glacier ice in Greenland is more than 100,000 years old
    • The age of the oldest Alaskan glacier ice ever recovered (from a basin between Mt. Bona and Mt. Churchill) is about 30,000 years old.

    Glacier flow moves newly formed ice through the entire length of a typical Alaskan valley glacier in 100 years or less. Based on flow rates, it takes less than 400 years for ice to transit the entire 140 + mile length of Bering Glacier, Alaska’s largest and longest glacier.

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    August 6, 2005

    Bear Glacier

    Oblique aerial photograph that shows the terminus of Bear Glacier, Kenai Mountains, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.

    Image: Layers of Ice, Hayden Glacier

    Layers of Ice, Hayden Glacier

    This picture was taken from the base of the Hayden Glacier in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.

    Image: Ice Cave

    Ice Cave

    Block of Ice on Vitus Lake, from Bering Glacier, Alaska

    Image: Ice Queen

    Ice Queen

    Block of Ice on Vitus Lake, from Bering Glacier, Alaska

    Image: Ice Core

    Ice Core

    Mikhail Kanevsiy (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) holding a core of ice-rich permafrost from about 2m depth.