The Athabasca Glacier as seen from the Icefields Parkway - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image The Saskatchewan Glacier as seen from the summit of Parker's Ridge. - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Columbia Icefield - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Columbia Icefield - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image
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Columbia Icefield

Location: Boundary of Banff and Jasper National Parks and British Columbia, 1.5 hours north of Lake Louise, or 1.5 hours south of Jasper, on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 N), AB, Canada, UTM: 11U 478350 E / 5782013 N

Vital Statistics: Elevation: 3518 Metres (11,539 Feet) , Depth: 365 Metres (1,197 Feet)

Formation Mechanism: Climate Change

Topographic Map: 83c03 Columbia Icefield

Description: The Columbia Icefield is the largest accumulation of ice south of the arctic circle. Straddling the boundaries of Banff and Jasper National Parks, as well as the continental divide and the boundary between Alberta and British Columbia, the location is very unique. The icefield is made up of approximately 325 square kilometres (130 sq mi) of glacial ice that reaches a maximum depth of 365 m (1,200 ft). The average snowfall on the Columbia Icefield is 7 m (23 feet) per year, with an average elevation of 3000 m (10,000 ft). The highest point on the Icefield is Mount Columbia at 3745 m (12,284 ft).

Six large outlet valley glaciers flow from this main body of ice. They are the Athabasca, Saskatchewan, Dome, Columbia, Castleguard and Stutfield Glaciers. The Columbia Icefield also represents the only three-way continental divide in North America. From the summit of Mount Snow Dome, waters flow to three separate oceans, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic. The only other similar divide is in northern Siberia. Scientists call this the "hydrographic apex of North America", quite simply the centre of the universe as far as all the water in North America is concerned.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005