Gastineau Channel
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Gastineau Channel ( Lingít: ''Séet Ká'') is a
channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...

channel
between the mainland of the U.S. state of
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United States ...
and
Douglas Island Douglas Island is a tidal island in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska, Juneau, just west of downtown Juneau and east of Admiralty Island. It is separated from mainland Juneau by the Gastineau Channel, a ...
in the
Alexander Archipelago The Alexander Archipelago (russian: Архипелаг Александра), a long archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea contai ...

Alexander Archipelago
of southeastern Alaska. It separates
Juneau The City and Borough of Juneau ( ; tli, Dzánti K'ihéeni ), commonly known as Juneau, is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Con ...

Juneau
on the mainland side from
Douglas Douglas may refer to: * Douglas (given name) * Douglas (surname) Animals *Douglas (parrot), macaw that starred as the parrot ''Rosalinda'' in Pippi Longstocking *Douglas the camel, a domesticated camel serving in the 43rd Mississippi Infantry, ...
(now part of Juneau), on Douglas Island. The first European to sight the channel was
Joseph Whidbey Joseph Whidbey FRS (1757 – 9 October 1833) was a member of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval period, th ...
early in August 1794, first from the south and later from the west. It was probably named for John Gastineau, an
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
civil engineer A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering Civil engineering is a Regulation and licensure in engineering, professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and natu ...
and
surveyor Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...

surveyor
.


Characteristics

The channel is navigable by large ships, only from the southeast, as far as the Douglas Bridge, approximately . Between the bridge and
Juneau International Airport Juneau International Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport and seaplane base located seven nautical miles (8 mi, 13 km) northwest of the central business district of Juneau, Alaska, Juneau, a city and boroughs of Alaska, boro ...

Juneau International Airport
, approximately , it is navigable only by smaller craft and only at high tide. The channel is becoming increasingly unnavigable due to shallow water depths. The two principal causes for this are: #
Isostatic reboundThe term isostatic may refer to: * Isostatic depression in geodynamics * Isostatic powder compaction in metallurgy and ceramic engineering * Isostatic press in manufacturing See also

*Isostasy in geology: gravitational equilibrium between th ...

Isostatic rebound
following the retreat of glacial ice sheets # Sedimentation and infilling of the Gastineau Channel by silty sediment produced by the Mendenhall Glacier and Mendenhall River. If current trends continue, Gastineau Channel may eventually become dry or unnavigable or both. During isostatic rebound, the Earth's lithosphere (crust) is slowly rising because of buoyant forces, following the removal of a large mass on the surface. This can be likened to an ice cube floating in a glass of water with a penny sitting on top. The weight of the penny makes the ice cube float lower, similar to the immense weight of a glacier on top of the lithosphere. When the penny (glacier) is removed, the ice cube (lithosphere) "rebounds" and floats slightly higher. In the geologic case, that scenario happens very slowly. Rates of isostatic rebound throughout SE Alaska vary from 0.1 to 1.5 inches/year depending on glacial history. The approximate rebound rate in the Juneau area is 0.25 to 0.5 inches/year.


References

Bodies of water of Juneau, Alaska Straits of Alaska Straits of the Pacific Ocean {{JuneauAK-geo-stub