Columbia Icefield

Feature Type:Icefield - Irregularly shaped mass of permanent snow and ice, generally forming the accumulation area of two or more glaciers.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Straddling BC-Alberta boundary S of Snow Dome and Mount Columbia, N of Bush Arm Kinbasket Lake, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 52°09'30''N, 117°19'00''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: 83C/3
Related Maps: 83C/3
83C/4

Origin Notes and History:

Columbia Snowfield adopted 6 Febuary 1912; form of name changed to Columbia Icefield 5 March 1935 on Jasper Park sheet, as labelled on BC-Alberta Boundary sheets 21, 22 & 23, published in 1923 from surveys in 1919.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"Named in 1899 by J.N.Collie, who with Hermann Woolley had discovered and named the Columbia Icefield the previous year..." elsewhere, "The Columbia Icefield is the centre of the greatest accumulation of ice in the Rocky Mountains. With its outlet glaciers the Columbia Icefield covers an area of nearly 337 sq. km....[and is] the source of three great rivers: the Athabaska (1231 miles), the Saskatchewan (1939 miles) and the Columbia (1947 miles), flowing respectively to the Arctic Ocean, Hudson Bay [Atlantic Ocean] and the Pacific Ocean."

Source: Place Names of Alberta, Alberta Geographical Names Program and Friends of Geographical Names of Alberta Society, University of Calgary Press, 4 volumes, 1991-1996.

NOTE: the Columbia Icefield is NOT the source of the Columbia River, although the Bush, Sullivan and Kinbasket Rivers which drain the Columbia Icefield contribute the largest volume of water to the upstream portion of the Columbia River.

Source: Place Names of Alberta, Alberta Geographical Names Program and Friends of Geographical Names of Alberta Society, University of Calgary Press, 4 volumes, 1991-1996.