Environment: Alaska's Speeding Glacier

A wall of ice seals a fjord, endangering a nearby village

The first person to report that something was amiss was Guide Mike Branham, 40, a strapping six-footer who each spring flies a pontoon plane full of bear hunters into a cove on Russell Fjord, in Alaska's southeastern panhandle. This year he discovered that things had changed: Hubbard Glacier was on the move -- at a most unglacial pace of about 40 ft. per day. "We saw the glacier advance like it never had before," says Branham. That was in April. Within weeks, the leading edge of ice had sealed off the fjord at its opening, turning the 32-mile-long inlet into a...

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