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Encyclopedia > Ice dam

An ice dam is a geological phenomenon. During a warming period, meltwater gets beneath an ice sheet and thaws its attachment to the ground, allowing the ice to spread sideways and for the center to collapse. Sometimes a tongue of this ice sheet will enter a canyon by overflowing the rim, blocking the river which flows through it. A major backup occurs which eventually overflows or undermines the ice dam, suddenly releasing the empounded water.


About 13,000 years ago, the Cordilleran ice sheet crept southward into the Idaho panhandle, forming a large ice dam about 13,000 years ago that blocked the mouth of the Clark Fork River, creating a massive lake 2000 feet deep and containing more than 500 cubic miles of water. When Glacial Lake Missoula burst through the ice dam and exploded downstream, it did so at a rate 10 times the combined flow of all the rivers of the world. Because such ice dams will re-form, such Columbia River floods happened at least 59 times, carving Dry Falls below Grand Coulee. In modern times, the Hubbard glacier regularly blocks the mouth of Russell fjord at 60 degrees north on the coast of Alaska. The Clark Fork River is a river in the U.S. states of Montana and Idaho, approximately 360 mi (579 km). ... Columbia River Gorge, Washington or North side The Columbia River is the largest river in volume flowing into the Pacific Ocean from North America. ... In Central Washington at the opposite side of the Grand Coulee from the Columbia River resides a three and a half mile crescent shaped precipice known as Dry Falls. ... The Grand Coulee The Grand Coulee is an ancient river bed in the U.S. state of Washington. ... State nickname: The Last Frontier, The Land of the Midnight Sun Other U.S. States Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Governor Frank Murkowski Official languages English Area 1,717,854 km² (1st)  - Land 1,481,347 km²  - Water 236,507 km² (13. ...


---References---


Allen, John Eliot; Burns, Majorie; and Sargent, Sam C. (1986). Cataclysms on the Columbia. Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-215-3.


http://www.nps.gov/iceagefloods/a.htm


Images at http://www.williamcalvin.com/BrainForAllSeasons/76N.htm


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ice dam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (443 words)
About 13,000 years ago, the Cordilleran ice sheet crept southward into the Idaho Panhandle, forming a large ice dam about 13,000 years ago that blocked the mouth of the Clark Fork River, creating a massive lake 2000 feet deep and containing more than 500 cubic miles of water.
The water behind the ice dam then rises and often to such a height that it breaks the levees that contain the flow of the river and creates disastrous floods.
Ice dams sometimes form on the Hwang Ho, and in rivers in Siberia and the Canadian Arctic.
Ice Dams (1184 words)
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof.
The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that are on the average below 32°F. So the water above backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid.
Since most ice dams form at the edge of the roof, there is obviously a heat source warming the roof elsewhere.
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