Timpanogos Glacier

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Timpanogos Glacier
Emerald Lake below Timpanogos Glacier.jpg
Emerald Lake below the glacier, the bulge in the talus is where the glacier is buried.
Location in Utah
Location in Utah
Timpanogos Glacier
Location in Utah
Type Rock Glacier
Location Utah County, Utah, U.S.
Coordinates 40°23′23.53″N 111°38′25.00″W / 40.3898694°N 111.6402778°W / 40.3898694; -111.6402778Coordinates: 40°23′23.53″N 111°38′25.00″W / 40.3898694°N 111.6402778°W / 40.3898694; -111.6402778[1]
Thickness >100 feet
Terminus proglacial lake
Status Unknown

Timpanogos Glacier is a rock glacier that is located in the Wasatch Range, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, and is the last known glacier in the U.S. state of Utah. The glacier is situated on the north slope of Mount Timpanogos (11,749 feet (3,581 m)).[2] The best evidence indicates that the Timpanogos Glacier was once a "true" glacier with crevasses present in the early 20th century, but that the surface portion was lost during the dust bowl drought of the 1930s and reduced to a permanent snowfield.

The glacier is now considered to be a rock glacier, since the remaining ice is buried in the talus. In 1994, the rocks parted, revealing a crevasse or meltwater channel in the buried ice. One witness described it as being "40 feet thick at least." [3] Another crevasse or pit reportedly opened up in the late 1990s or early 2000s. One witness threw a stone in and from the fall time calculated that it was over 100 feet deep. Around this time Brigham Young University dug 3 to 5 feet down to the ice and attempted to obtain a core sample and study the ice crystal morphology. The core sample was reportedly contaminated and crystal morphology study was unsuccessful.[4]

Today, the rock glacier consists of three flow lobes. The main one may be inactive, the uppermost one is probably active, and the one in between is probably extinct. On September 3, 2016, an amateur geologist found a meltwater pit in the uppermost flow lobe full of opaque glacial runoff and a small amount of exposed glacial ice. He dug through the rocks in the slope of the pit and found blue ice about 3 feet down. The ice contained bubbles and was therefore probably glacial in origin.[5]

Emerald Lake is a small proglacial lake which lies at the terminal moraine left behind by the now mostly vanished Timpanogos Glacier. The occasional blue color of Emerald Lake is an indicator of the buried glacial ice. Since this color did not appear in 2016 despite low water levels, the main flow lobe of the glacier which touches the lake may now be inactive.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Timpanogos Glacier". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2012-09-02. 
  2. ^ Aspen Grove, UT (Map). TopoQwest (United States Geological Survey Maps). Retrieved December 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ "100 Years on the Timpanogos Glacier". SummitPost. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  4. ^ "100 Years on the Timpanogos Glacier". SummitPost. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  5. ^ "100 Years on the Timpanogos Glacier". SummitPost. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  6. ^ "100 Years on the Timpanogos Glacier". SummitPost. Retrieved 2016-09-11.