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National Park Quiz 46: Glaciers

Can you identify this famous hotel in Glacier National Park? Kurt Repanshek photo.

1. What is the name of the famous hotel illustrated in the accompanying photo, which was taken in Glacier National Park?

2. True or false? There is only one fjard on the east coast, and it is in a national park.

3. True or false? Thousands of years ago, a valley glacier that occupied the Merced River Valley in Yosemite National Park became so thick and extensive that only a small area at the very top of Half Dome remained uncovered.

4. Scientists suspect that one of the mountains in a Hawaiian national park may have been glaciated. Can you name the mountain?

5 It’s now illegal, but in the early days of the Inside Passage cruise industry, some ships visiting Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve would enter Glacier Bay, pull in fairly close to shore, and blast away with their ships’ horns. What was the reason for this noisy practice?

6. In which national park is the Kahiltna Glacier situated, and why is the location of this glacier of vital importance to certain park visitors?

7. Scientists and public safety officials have warned that thousands of people in the Mount Rainer National Park vicinity might be injured or killed by lahars if glacial ice on the flanks of Mount Rainier were to be quickly melted by a volcanic eruption. What is a lahar?

8. Exit Glacier descends from the Harding Icefield in
a. Kenai Fjords National Park
b. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
c. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
d. Katmai National Park & Preserve

9. There were approximately 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park when the park was established. How many are left?
a. fewer than 40
b. about 50
c. about 75
d. about 100

10. At various times, continental scale glaciers formed in Canada and sent thick ice sheets southward, covering and modifying much of the northern U.S. and mountain west. All of the following parks in the eastern U.S. were once covered by glacial ice EXCEPT:
a. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
b. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
c. Assateague Island National Seashore
d. Gateway National Recreation Area

Extra Credit Question:

11. Hills or ridges called moraines are found in many glaciated national parks. If you were to dig into the center of a moraine, you would find
a. an unsorted mixture of fine quartz particles, silt, and glacial flour
b. an unsorted mixture of silt, sand, gravel, stones, and boulders
c. alternating bands of sand, silt, and clay
d. thick layers of sand and fine gravel

Super Bonus Question:

12. Some national parks that were glaciated thousands of years ago have landforms called drumlins. How do drumlins provide clues about the direction in which long-ago glaciers moved?


(1) The hotel shown in the photo is Many Glacier Hotel, which is situated on Swiftcurrent Lake on the eastern side of Glacier National Park.

(2) True. A fjard is a long, narrow, glacially-eroded bay that is similar to a fjord, but not as large and deep. The only body of water on America's Atlantic Coast that meets that description is Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. Somes Sound was considered a fjord before scientific opinion recently swung to the fjard side of the fjard/fjord continuum.

3) False. The glaciers that occupied the valley at various times did not get that deep. Half Dome’s spectacular cliff face was formed because valley glaciers kept eating away at the rock at the base of the cliff, repeatedly causing great slabs of granite to peal away from the dome, crash unto the ice surface, and get carried off downslope.

(4) The volcanoes of the Big Island are so high that there is a winter snowline beginning at about 10,000 feet. Geologists suspect that Mauna Loa in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park may have been glaciated about 20,000 years ago during the Wisconsin stage of the late Pleistocene. It has already been established that one of the other Big Island peaks, Mauna Kea, has been glaciated.

(5) Cruise ship passengers (and kayakers) in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve delight in watching “calving,” which occurs when big chunks of glacial ice fall off the face of tidewater glaciers, splash into the water, and drift away as icebergs. The loud blaring of a ship’s horn caused vibrations that were sometimes sufficient to trigger calving. BTW, monitoring ice movement rates has enabled scientists to determine that most of the the ice calving from the park’s ten tidewater glaciers was formed 75 to 200 years ago.

(6) The Kahiltna Glacier is situated high on the southwestern flank of Mount McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve. Planes based in Talkeetna shuttle mountain climbers and their gear to the glacier, which serves as a base camp for climbs on Mount McKinley and other nearby mountains (primarily Mount Hunter and Mount Foraker).

(7) Lahars are watery debris flows or mudflows that contain significant amounts of volcanic ash or other volcanic material. Unlike snow or rock avalanches, which seldom affect areas more than a few miles away from their source, lahars can reach areas tens of miles downslope.

(8) a -- The Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords Natonal Park is so large that it spawns more than three dozen glaciers. The Exit Glacier vicinity is the only area of the park that is accessible by car.

(9) a -- There are apparently only about three dozen glaciers left in Glacier National Park. Warmer temperatures are melting the park’s glaciers at a rapid rate, and scientists have concluded that the last one can be expected to disappear by about 2030.

(10) c – Assateague Island on the coast of Maryland and Virginia was never glaciated. On the Atlantic Coast, the ice sheets reached only about as far south as the New York City/ Long Island vicinity. In the Midwest, glaciers extended about as far south as the Ohio River Valley.

(11) b – Moraines consist of unsorted glacial debris that varies greatly in size. This material forms hills when piled into great heaps, as often occurs at the terminus or flanks of a glacial lobe.

(12) Drumlins, which may occur in large groups called fields or swarms, are elongated hills whose long axes are aligned parallel to the movement of the ice. A drumlin has a distinct shape resembling an inverted teaspoon. The steeper (blunter) side of the drumlin faces the direction from which the ice came, while the gentler sloping side faces the direction toward which the ice moved.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


Wow, Bob, "drumlins". You had to reach for that one. Anything to keep people from getting a perfect score, right?

Rick Smith

Sorry to rain on your parade, Rick, but I couldn't help using drumlins in this quiz. They're a depositional feature that I've been familiar with for a very long time. Growing up in Michigan, I hunted, fished, and vacationed in an area of the state (northwestern Lower Peninsula) that has swarms of drumlins. Later, while taking a geology course, I even dug down into one of the darn things. Fascinating.

Ugh! I did not do well...chuckle. I went through it more for the informational value, however. Very informative and interesting. Good job Bob!

Your weekly quiz should have a prominent link on the Traveler home page. It would draw in more people. Although, I know how easy it is to 'clog' up the home page with links. I'll have to mention this to Kurt.

rob mutch
Executive Director,
Crater Lake Institute
Robert Mutch Photography,

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