Saturday, September 3, 2011

Disappearance of glacial river stuns B.C. hikers: Canada

One of the glacial rivers feeding a large lake straddling the Yukon-British Columbia border has dried up, hikers say, turning a normally fast-running watercourse into a muddy field strewn with icebergs.

"We were able to walk right into the river bed and stand among the 60-foot icebergs that are grounded now," said Diana Thayer of Atlin, B.C., who came across the phenomenon while hiking near the Llewellyn Glacier along the Sloko Inlet trail in late August.

"It just seemed the plug had been pulled on a bathtub."

Thayer said Atlin Lake, which is British Columbia's largest natural lake and extends its northern tip into Yukon, has already "dropped about 50 feet and perhaps is still draining."

A neighbour of Thayer's, John Lyons, visited the site the day after she returned and described what had happened.

"The photographs were spectacular," he said. "You see where the bergs had been dragged along the bottom and you could see the drag marks in the mud from all the various icebergs." more