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News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Release: March 27, 2001
Robert M. Krimmel
253-428-3600, ext. 2647

More snow on South Cascade Glacier in 1999, report shows

Measurements of the the South Cascade Glacier in northwestern Washington show some growth in size in 1999, indicating a healthy year for the glacier, according to a report issued today by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Winter snow accumulation in late 1998 and early 1999 and summer melt in 1999 were measured at South Cascade Glacier to determine the health of the glacier. The winter accumulation was 11.78 feet (converted to the amount of water contained in the snow). By the end of the following summer, the amount of accumulation was reduced by 3.35 feet. This indicates that for 1999, the glacier gained mass and at least for that year was healthy.

Since similar measurements were begun in 1959, only three winters have had a greater accumulation, and only two years had a greater accumulation of mass by the end of the summer. While the glacier was healthy for 1999, it has not fared so well overall and has lost mass for most years since the late 1950's.

The report, "Water, Ice, Meteorological, and Speed Measurements at South Cascade Glacier, Washington, 1999 Balance Year," is published as U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4265. Copies are available for reading at the U.S. Geological Survey office at 1201 Pacific Avenue, Suite 600, Tacoma, Washington 98402. It can be purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0286, telephone (303) 202-4200.

As the Nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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