facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Largest ice mass in California's Yosemite park melting, disappearing

Oct. 2, 2013 at 6:10 PM   |   Comments

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif., Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The largest ice mass in Yosemite, a glacier that is the California park's key source of water, is melting fast and could be gone in 20 years, scientists say.

Lyell Glacier has shrunk by more than half in the past century and hasn't moved in years, researchers in the park said.

"We give it 20 years or so of existence -- then it'll vanish, leaving behind rocky debris," Greg Stock, the park's first full-time geologist, told the Los Angeles Times.

Climate change has caused the glacier to drop 62 percent of its mass and lose 120 vertical feet of ice in the last 100 years, he said.

Yosemite's other glacier, Maclure, is shrinking but is still moving at a rate of about an inch a day.

Lyell, the second-largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada and the headwater of the Tuolumne River watershed, no longer fits the definition of a glacier because it has ceased moving, Stock said.

"Lyell Glacier is stagnant -- a clear sign it's dying," he said. "Our research indicates it stopped moving about a decade ago.

"Glaciers tend to flow like honey down a plate, or slide over meltwater beneath them," Stock said. "We suspect Lyell just isn't thick enough anymore to drive a downhill motion."

The rate of its retreat has accelerated in the last decade, he said.

"Eventually, there'll be nothing left."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles
3
Major palm oil companies to halt deforestation Major palm oil companies to halt deforestation
4
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
5
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback