Glaciers and nature the Alaska dream cruise

Interested in glaciers?

An Alaskan cruise adventure is a great way to discover the wonder of glaciers.  The word glacier comes from French via the Vulgar Latin glacia, and ultimately from Latin glacies meaning ice.  The corresponding area of study is called glaciology (more at Another great place to learn about glaciers is where you can get an interactive guide to study up on the formation of glaciers before your Alaska cruise.

Quick facts about glaciers:

  • Alaska has an estimated 100,000 glaciers = 5% coverage.
  • More active glaciers than in the rest of the inhabited world.
  • North America’s longest glacier is the Bering Glacier in Alaska, measuring 204 kilometers long.
  • Glacial ice often appears blue when it has become very dense. Years of compression gradually make the ice denser over time, forcing out the tiny air pockets between crystals. When glacier ice becomes extremely dense, the ice absorbs all other colors in the spectrum and reflects primarily blue, which is what we see. When glacier ice is white, that usually means that there are many tiny air bubbles still in the ice.

How do glaciers form?

  • Moist air flows toward the mountains, rises and releases snow and rain.
  • Average snowfall on Juneau Ice field exceeds 100 feet.
  • Mild summers cause winter snow accumulation to exceed summer snowmelt at higher elevations.

Most Popular Alaskan Glaciers and places to view them (for a complete list of all registerd glaciers in Alaska click here)

  • Glacier Bay
  • College Fjord
  • Hubbard Glacier
  • Tracy Arm and the Twin Sawyer Glaciers
  • Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau
  • The Kennicott Glacier
  • Worthington Glacier, near Valdez

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