Mendenhall Glacier


Once in Juneau, we boarded a bus for nearby Mendenhall Glacier, the “drive-up glacier” as it is called because you can get so close to it by car. We rafted down the Mendenhall River, the melt from the glacier that flows out to sea. At the closest point, we were probably two miles from the foot of the glacier.

A glacier can be differentiated from regular snow by its blue-green color, the result of densely packed ice. All colors of light are absorbed by glacial ice but only blue light can reflect back out, so that is the color we see when we look at a glacier or its icebergs.

The blue-green ice of the glacier appears to be a dam holding back water in the background. Look for the blue color to see where the glacier is.

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