Environment: Iceberg Menace in Alaska

"Growlers"and "bergy bits"threaten oil traffic

Now that the trouble-plagued trans-Alaska pipeline is in full operation, Alaskan oil is flowing in great volume overland. But its journey to U.S. West Coast ports may soon be interrupted at sea —by icebergs in the tanker shipping lanes. The source of these floating hazards is the Columbia Glacier, a 425-sq.-mi. mass of ice that ends less than seven miles from the tanker lanes for Port Valdez.

The 40-mile-long glacier originates high in a watershed east of Valdez, where it is fed by massive snowfalls. From there, it flows inexorably...

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