Glacier National Park, located on the US-Canada border in Montana, is one of the jewels of the US parks system. Spanning more than one million square acres of protected wilderness, the park is home to magnificent ice formations and 37 named glaciers.
Well, it was.
According to new data released today by the US Geological Survey (USGS), the warming climate has reduced the size of ice formations around the park as much as 85 percent since 1966. According to the new data, melting has been so severe that only 26 of the park's ice formations now technically qualify as glaciers.
If current climate patterns persist, researchers say the glaciers will disappear entirely by the year 2030.
The figures were primarily calculated using digital maps generated from aerial photography and satellite images.
But the researchers also took an admirably old-fashioned, two-fisted approach to science. Several ground surveys were dispatched to the glacial fields, with geologists gathering data by way of GPS equipment and repeat photography.