time ago glaciers covered what is now the Matanuska Valley. For
many thousands of years meltwaters from the Matanuska Glacier fed the Matanuska River, which has carved a winding channel through
the Talkeetna and Chugach Mountains. The foot of the Matanuska Glacier
is a great pile of silt and during the summers the river is a gray
color, like city sidewalks. The gray is silt from the glacier.
The river flows through a wide channel which
is a thick bed of very fine, glacial silt. In the winter the glacier
doesn't melt very much, so the river flows a clear green or deep
wind called the Matanuska flows along the river channel and when
it reaches a sufficient speed, it picks up silt from the dry parts
of the river bed.
silt becomes suspended, flowing
many miles on air currents until some resistance to air flow is
reached. On the leeward side of trees you can often see drifts of silt.
A benefit is renewal of top soil.
The Matanuska Wind
can also be detrimental to the land, stripping top soil from unprotected fields once
any snow cover has blown away.
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