A "spectacle of nature," in which the Muldrow Glacier in Denali National Park and Preserve has suddenly surged forward for the first time in more than six decades, has opened a scientific window for glaciologists to better understand the park's rivers of ice. Though highly unusual, the glacier's rapid movement is not believed to be linked to climate change, but rather due to the "unique nature of the structure and composition of the glacier’s ice, its surrounding rocks, and the topography it is moving through."
The event on the Muldrow Glacier, which originates high on the northeastern slope of Denali and flows north to form the McKinley River, was spotted last month by pilot Chris Palms of K2 Aviation during an overflight of the mountain. It was revealed Wednesday by the park. Since Palms' discovery, park scientists have begun a flurry of observations of this now rapidly flowing glacier.