Glacial outburst sends rush of water down Taku River

Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- A rush of water released by a Canadian glacier pushed the Taku River's flow to more than double it's normal level, the U.S. Geological Survey reported Wednesday.

By Wednesday morning the river near Juneau was flowing at about 81,000 cubic feet per second, compared to a normal flow for this time of year of 50,000 cubic feet, according to the USGS.

Although there are a few cabins and lodges on the river, there were no reports of any significant flooding, said Ben Balk, a hydrologist with the Alaska River Forecast Center.

''This glacier dam outburst happens on a yearly basis,'' Balk said. ''Residents would be aware of it.''

Glacier outburst floods are a sudden release of meltwater from a glacier or glacier-dammed lake resulting from the melting of a drainage channel or lifting of the ice by water. The outburst on the Taku came from the Tulsequah Glacier in British Columbia.

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