Glacier National Park in Montana may eventually lose what made it so famous. The national park had around 80 glaciers in 1850, but this number had declined to 26 by 2015. Since then, some of the remaining ones have become so small that they probably can’t even be considered glaciers anymore.
While scientist’s prediction of the glacier’s complete disappearance between 2020 and 2030 was deemed inaccurate due to the fickle nature of ablations, these glaciers are not in good shape, and they will continue to recede over time.
One of them that is barely hanging on is the Grinnell Glacier. The historical photos from T.J. Hileman in 1938, along with the follow-up photos from USGS scientists Fagre, McKeon, and Lombardi, show a glacier in rapid decline. Each of these photographs, which are down below, was taken in either late August to early September, which is the only time that the glaciers can actually be clearly seen.
It sounds like it’s going to take more time until glaciers in the park completely vanish, but it’s probably better to see them in the near future rather than further down the road, as it will likely be less depressing.
Image Credits: Glacier National Park/USGS (T.J. Hileman, Fagre, McKeon, and Lombardi), David Morris