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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Now for some cooler news...

Mysterious California Glaciers Keep Growing Despite Warming






















MOUNT SHASTA, Calif. — Global warming is shrinking glaciers all over the world, but the seven tongues of ice creeping down Mount Shasta's flanks are a rare exception: They are the only known glaciers in the continental U.S. that are growing.

Reaching more than 14,000 feet above sea level, Mount Shasta is one of the state's tallest peaks, dominating the landscape of high plains and conifer forests in far Northern California.

Nearby Indian tribes referred to its glaciers as the footsteps made by the creator when he descended to Earth. Hikers flock to Shasta's peak every summer to scale them.
The Shasta glaciers have been advancing since the end of a drought in the early 20th century. The mountain's smallest glaciers — named Konwakiton, Watkins and Mud Creek — have more than doubled in length since 1950.

Hikers seeking to cross Shasta's glaciers — marked with crevasses as deep as 100 feet — say they are much larger than the boundaries drawn on geological maps.

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