Alaska Nature February 11, 2017
by Courtney The Underwater Phenomenon In Alaska That Will Completely Mesmerize You
When it comes to Alaska’s 100,000+ glaciers, let’s just say that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Sure, they are all strikingly stunning to observe in their true stoic environment, we can’t deny that for one single minute. But what trickles down to the bottom isn’t exactly the same spectacular show that you’ll see up top. Silt may be the uglier side of those breathtakingly beautiful glaciers, but that doesn’t stop it from being the true underwater natural phenomenon that we all know it to be.
There is positively no denying that when most people think about glaciers, they picture those prominent crystal blue/turquoise colors that bring out the wow-factor in one of Alaska's greatest natural wonders.
But the thing with glaciers is that even though they are ginormous frozen landmasses, they are still affected by the daily heating and cooling of the climate in which they exist.
Because of this, it's quite common to experience silt pouring down into freshwater and saltwater areas all throughout the great 49th state.
From above, the effects of glacial silt meeting freshwater rivers is really quite miraculous to observe.
In many ways it almost looks like an oil painting brought to life as the light colored silt rushes into various deep, dark winding waterways.
Pictured here is the muddy Shaw Creek mixing with the silty Tanana River at the Tanana Confluence.
What is so unique is that sometimes the mixing process of silt and freshwater is a slow-moving process that is perfectly divided for miles on end.
It's almost as if each separate material has a mind of its own.
Kayakers near the 11 mile long Reid Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park experience profound silt mixtures in the inlet on a regular basis during the summer months.
This silty mixture is a common sight for many recreational travelers out exploring Alaska's off-the-beaten-path places.
If you look at silt up close, it can actually appear very silky and stunning when its material isn't flooded with sediment.
River and creek beds that are filled with silt generally always stand out because of how hard it is to see any of the other rocks or vegetation on the floor.
Flickr - Travis
During the summer months you'll be able to easily spot out a glaciated area when you find yourself hiking over heavy cracked glacial mud.
This is a hardened clay-like texture that is usually mixed in with multiple sizes rocks and sediment.
If you pass by a river that appears to be brown and dirty from a distance, it's probably just filled with silt.
Question Creek in the Mat-Su Valley shows off its silty demeanor during the prime summertime months.
The Susitna River nearest to Talkeetna offers silty views for miles on end.
The Nenana River in the Denali/Healy area along the George Parks Highway is known for being powerful and mighty silty.
Don't let the silt fool you; this river is awesome for enjoying a white-water rafting excursion.
The remote Tanana River in Alaska's interior is a silty slough after the winter ice thaws and the midnight sun heats up all the thick frozen ice.
Even extemely isolated places such as the Taiya River on the Chilkoot Trail can be found filled with thick levels of silt mixed into the freshwater.
The silt filled Robertson River looks effortlessly beautiful with the epic Alaska Range in the backdrop.
Be advised that even if you're crossing a shallow silty stream in Alaska, the water is still swift and painfully freezing.
Be vigilant and always express a great amount of caution in Alaska's backcountry.
If you love Mother Nature’s work, be sure to
check out this natural phenomenon that happens just once a year in Alaska (hint: it’s absolutely spectacular). If you live in the Last Frontier, we are sure that you can relate to this frustrating natural phenomenon that every Alaskan has to worry about each winter.
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