Surging glaciers can sometimes divide a lake or fjord into two parts, creating
a hazardous situation. In May 1986, and again in 2002, the advancing Hubbard
Glacier in Yakutat Bay, Alaska, blocked the entrance to Russell Fjord (lower
right in image). Dammed meltwater from surrounding glaciers raised the fjord's
water level by up to 82 feet above sea level before the ice dam failed on
October 8 of that year. In spring 2002, the advancing Hubbard Glacier again
closed the opening between Disenchantment Bay (lower left) and Russell Fjord.
The level of the ice-dammed fjord increased by nearly 66 feet. On August 14,
2002, the dam broke, reestablishing the connection to the bay. Since no one
lives directly downstream, both breaks caused only natural damage. A major
hazard would develop, however, if the Hubbard ever permanently blocked Russell
Fjord. This could lead to overflow and drainage at the fjord's back side (not
shown), which would endanger areas around the village of Yakutat.