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“Our vanishing glaciers”: One hundred years of glacier retreat in Three Sisters Area, Oregon Cascade Range

January 1, 2014

In August 1910, thirty-nine members of the Mazamas Mountaineering Club ascended the peaks of the Three Sisters in central Oregon. While climbing, geologist Ira A. Williams photographed the surrounding scenery, including images of Collier Glacier. One hundred years later, U.S. Geological Survey research hydrologist Jim E. O’Connor matched those documented photographs with present day images — the result of which is a stunning lapse of glacial change in the Three Sister region. O’Connor asserts that “glaciers exist by the grace of climate,” and through a close examination of the history of the region’s glaciers, he provides an intriguing glimpse into the history of geological surveys and glacial studies in the Pacific Northwest, including their connection to significant scientific advances of the nineteenth century. The work of scientists and mountaineers who have monitored and recorded glacier changes for over a century allows us to see dramatic changes in a landscape that is especially sensitive to ongoing climate change.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title “Our vanishing glaciers”: One hundred years of glacier retreat in Three Sisters Area, Oregon Cascade Range
DOI 10.5403/oregonhistq.114.4.0402
Authors James E. O'Connor
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Oregon Historical Society Quarterly
Index ID 70059646
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Oregon Water Science Center; Volcano Hazards Program