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The San Francisco Sunday Call.
Magazine Section Part I. The Death of Muir Glacier Lindsay Campbell THE Muir glacier, one of the most fascinating of the natural "-won der* of Alaska, Is dying.; Tills tummer, for the first titnejln nine years, steerners have been able to.ent^r th« bay Into whichllhe glar«er- empties its gIe»JiiEES of ice, snow and: rocks, end tie sight of this long hidden -. ice vick v»s a s^ad one. for those -who'had known the glacirr before.it received its mortal wound frvhn an carrtiauake; -in SS2S. The TacLflc Coast v steamship company's liner Spokane, which- has Jest returned to this port after a sum mer spent in making: excursion trips between the soimd and Alaska,. was the first vessel to penetrate the bay, which, since the caithcuake of nine years ago, has been closed to navigation by jagged barriers of ice. The Spokane had no easy task to force its way "through, but when the barriers had "been*, passed the steamer floated in the clear -water at the glacier's face, and the sight, although vastlr different from what had been expected, was rich repayment for the struggle. "VThen those who had known : the glacier in its prime last saw it its f,ace vr&a ftJl two miles long. It stood ££0 feet above the water and extended t-elo^r the surface. to a depth of 'S3o feet. Every foot of the two miles vai full cf life and actively .engaged In the titanic labor of manufacturing end launching icebergs. T. J. Richardson, an artist, who. has Epec^l6 of the last 23 years appoints along: the northern coast of .the Pacific ocean, and* who has -known tho Mvir s glacier e!ne* IS9I, thus describ-s^thc "It was a grand and awe inspiring eig-ht, for the great ice mass was dj-- Integrratinsr fast and the detonations sis the bergs toppled off into the eea were like ti« roar of artillery. .. Ilardly,: 10 •minutes would pass without the colj lapse of some great piece of ice, and the tifial waves which would follow ,\u25a0 the submergence of a big fragment would tend a -wall of water 10 feet high 1 or wore rushing in to the shore.- One had to i>c constantly o:i g^ard for these • 'Tnucrs when oa Die beach. ' The sight of VtiQ falling masses of ice iis«-«j ahvavs to make me think of a fight o£ giants, i:\ which those In the front rank were constantly falling:, pushed on to de struction by the fellows behind." - That was whm the ice pack, was a "live" glacier. In the days, be fore the, earthquake shook the pack out of its regular habits the Muir glacier pre-" senteda straight wall, ofice two miles across the head ,of >thebay. The gla cier wasfed from an 'amphitheater, of mountains on a:diet> of ice and snow. The area - of' this -^amphitheater .in SCO square miles and'al'.- tire Jce formed therein made, its exit fivr-ugh •.the two mile outlet. .At thatttmether<s .was an ."island", In the icefield about a >day*s journey ;from the "ta'ce !of the glacier. - The earthquake lias left;th« ."island" iCipostd and todcy it. looms up. a full grown mountain. - -- \u25a0 ' This mountain now_ divides the sia oier; into Two streams. .-.The stream to the^rig-hfdiffers.in.the. quality ."of : ti}« ice fromthe 'strcpmrtoaiic'left of the mountain.* The" right hand stream is mcl ting ' q uickl y . and . its. f ace . i s 'non o w four miles farther inland than = that ~of the lelt hand stream. - Thl right l>aiid 'stream 5? ;"t!ead," or nearly, so. U.is receding- as the process of "dis^cliHiQU advances and in going: back. it lias. left a 'ttiilfttjvide 'channel, ifouV milee .lopg-, into * trhich . ttie steamer steamed /along the crescent sh.iped boundary of the ; survi vingr - arm of i the glacier. •' As, a -the sight is more -\u25a0inspiring tlian 'ever, ' but that' Bolid front' of iiying^giaoier.v.-ith its in cessant ripping and : splashing, has S<W~e /forever.' : The -living .arm .of the glwcier still "sheds^.: icebergs, but the productions is' limited*; and' the parses between -the .- artillery 'like reports grow— longer. ; ' ( '\u25a0.-•. . - Mr; Richardson thus describes '-Ike Muir. -glacier- as \u25a0 'ir> found^ it \u25a0 \u25a0- thins sumif.er: :.' '\u25a0\u25a0 . ._- .. .'. . *'\u25a0 , :-'\u25a0.'\u25a0•\u25a0 '• '. * '"Only' about, half of ; the. former face of : the' glacier} is active" in '".discharging to' tile 'sez. ; Today -the 'active portion, may- be described; as, the left. arm! The right arm ii^hardly, active at all ajid In .m y opinion Trill.' be 'dead' : ip " a tone* paratively few i'ycare-. \u25a0 ; AVrcady .'."in front of ' the » face' are 1 sho^w'lns^sand and; gravel •ridges ;in'\the \u25a0water. r whicli* indicate that.- the \ ice mass', is forming a-tcrminal morrainc,. which in \u25a0time will" grow ,to, such "pfoportiohs that* the glaciers-will be entirely, separated from the- sea. - : ' \u25a0- », . r , \u25a0" \u25a0 ; -"" . ; ( '. ';" ' '*:- \ ,'A' live glacier, speaking tcchnicaMy, is-^one \ which, discharges directly , f i;Vto: the ocean, .while' a /"dead "glacier is." one whlrfi ;cnds • on; lar.d A and where. ,th«. jce! mass is dissipated -6y<tlVe' action of (he sun v alona.. ,»It melts j away,- -while th« live. A grlaci«r ;i disimeWratesV? in" huge masses which 'float«.a.xay to/sea in' the> form of .icebergs/ - The 'dead ;gla'ci^i\.is of. : cohiparaliv«»ly 'niijall interest to' -any' save ;tho ; scientist. Awhile .the, live one, with -.its, awe; inspiring; detonations atid activity. .wilL hold the attention^ of "any creature,.-,no : matter ,how> unschooled/ for> ei-en the . "uneducated natives , 'will stand ; for; hour's '; "watching "the : move ments of the ice." ' : '•. \ : . \u25a0 .-..,• V \u25a0:\u25a0'\u25a0'\u25a0