Glacier Studies Collection

Finding aid created by Yosemite National Park Archives staff using RecordEXPRESS
Yosemite National Park Archives
5083 Foresta Road
El Portal, California 95318

Descriptive Summary

Title: Glacier Studies Collection
Dates: 1922-1977
Collection Number: YCN: 1013 (YOSE 233669)
Extent: 3.32 LF (10 manuscript boxes (8 - .5LF, 2 - .25LF); 1 oversize box (1-18.5 x 24, .01LF); 1 oversize data box (1-5 x 5 x 7 box (4 rolls of data); 1 flat file drawer (11 items).
Online items available
Repository: Yosemite National Park Archives
El Portal, California 95318
Abstract: The Glacier Studies Collection consists of reports, photographs, data, correspondence and negatives relating to glacier surveys conducted in and around Yosemite National Park. These surveys were completed as part of a larger National Park Service Project.
Language of Material: English


No restrictions

Preferred Citation

Glacier Studies Collection. Yosemite National Park Archives

Acquisition Information

This is an artificial collection, housed together since the 1970s in the Yosemite National Park Research Library. The materials include NPS records, USGS records, publications, and aerial photographs. The materials were deposited in the archives under one accession number: YOSE-07372 on March 14, 2013. Park Geologist, Greg Stock donated a collection of Hydrology data from the late 1960s and 1970s in 2011. Due to the fact this data was from the Glacier Studies, this accession is included in the collection.

Biography/Administrative History

In 1931, Acting Director of the Department of the Interior, Horace Albright, created a committee on Glaciers in the Section of Hydrology of the American Geophysical Union. The committee focused on annual glacial surveys in various national parks, including Lyell and Maclure Glaciers in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park naturalists,C. A. Harwell, Bert Harwell, and M.E. Beatty, conducted the Lyell and Maclure Glacier surveys in the 1930s, establishing photography point stations, and taking measurements. In addition to the Lyell and Maclure Glaciers, the naturalist also measured additional glaciers and glacierettes, including Dana, Conness, Koip, and Kuna in their reports. By 1941, the park naturalists’ in charge of the surveys, C. F. Brockman, M. E. Beatty and H.C. Parker, discovered that deviations in the environment were creating incorrect survey data. As a result, the 1941 glacier study concentrated on amending the survey methodology. Due to lack of personnel and funds, the glacier surveys of 1944-1946 were put on hold during World War II. In the 1950s, the Park resumed the surveys, focusing on photographing the glaciers. At this time the introduction of aerial photography was included in the surveys. The 1950s and 1960s saw a concentration specifically on the Lyell Glacier measuring the east and west lobes. By the 1970s, the annual survey was adjusted to every five years with a focus on Lyell, Maclure and Dana Glaciers, alternating survey years were conducted on smaller glaciers: Dana, Conness, Koip and Kuna. The last glacier survey occurred in 1975.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Glacier Studies collection is arranged to reflect the four types of material found in the collection: Program Records, Reports and Studies, Data, and Photography. Except for program records, the other series’ are arranged into subseries to further distinguish materials. Each subseries and series is then organized chronologically.