Yosemite’s Lyell Glacier Stops Moving
Highlights climate change
Yosemite’s Lyell Glacier has stopped moving, according to scientists from the National Park Service—which means, it can no longer be called a glacier.
Lyell has been historically recognized as the second largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada Range, but climate change has taken its toll on the icepack and new measurements indicate that it has not moved in the past few years.
Researchers noted that the icepack on the Lyell Glacier has decreased by 60 percent since 1900.
The team also measured the Maclure Glacier, which is adjacent to the Lyell Glacier. John Muir first documented movement of this glacier in 1872. The research team mimicked Muir’s measurements in 2012 by measuring stakes over the same period of the melt season. Despite a similar amount of ice loss as the Lyell Glacier, the team found that the Maclure Glacier continues to move at the same rate as that measured by Muir, about one inch per day. Although the Maclure Glacier has also thinned substantially, it is still thick enough to move and flow. Much of the downhill movement occurs by slow sliding at the glacier bed due to increased amounts of meltwater.
Researchers will continue to monitor the ice, which they say highlights the effects of climate change on Yosemite.