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Outburst Flood Spikes River Flow Near Juneau
Released: 7/26/2000

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Gordon Nelson 1-click interview
Phone: 907-786-7100

As of 7:30 a.m. today, July 26, the Taku River near Juneau, Alaska, was flowing at approximately 81,000 cubic feet per second, which is about 50,000 cubic feet per second higher than normal for the time of year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Gordon Nelson, chief hydrologist for the USGS in Alaska, said the high flows are a result of an outburst flood from the Tulsequah Glacier in British Columbia, coupled with heavy rains over the last several days. Glacier outburst floods are a sudden, often annual, release of meltwater from a glacier or glacier-dammed lake resulting from the melting of a drainage channel or buoyant lifting of ice by water. The outburst probably began sometime early Sunday morning and should probably peak sometime today, according to Nelson.

Three USGS hydrographers have been working in the Tulsequah River drainage Since July 25, measuring discharge and collecting water samples.

The USGS Taku River stream gage has been in operation since July of 1987. The previous peak flow on record was 90,000 cubic feet per second, on Aug. 17, 1989; also the result of a glacier outburst flood.

To track the Taku River flood in real time go to http://ak.water.usgs.gov/ the click on "Hydrologic Data, Real Time (Satellite)", then click on Taku River.

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