Yukon has a new lake, thanks to a retreating glacier
Kluane Lake's dropping water level has turned Cultus Bay into a lake
Yukon has lost a river, and now gained a lake, thanks to the retreating Kaskawulsh glacier.
Geologists and hikers first noticed earlier this summer that the Slims River, which for centuries had delivered melt water from the glacier to Kluane Lake, had disappeared — the glacial run-off was now being sent in a different direction.
Now, the level of Kluane Lake has dropped enough to turn the remote Cultus Bay, on the east side of the lake, into Cultus Lake. A narrow channel of water that once connected the bay to the larger lake is gone, exposing a wide gravel bar between the two.
"The gravel dam is so big that I can't imagine there's any chance that it's going to get breached," said Yukoner Murray Lundberg, who discovered the new lake while exploring a remote back road.
He says Cultus Lake now sits more than a metre above Kluane Lake, and is "swimmable."
"It's several degrees warmer than Kluane is," he said.
Hydrologists have estimated that Kluane Lake's water level could permanently drop by more than a metre because of the glacier's retreat.
With files from Vic Istchenko