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Fitz Blog: Sabino Canyon Glacier threatened by summer heat

2013-06-11T09:00:00Z 2013-06-11T09:45:23Z Fitz Blog: Sabino Canyon Glacier threatened by summer heatDavid Fitzsimmons The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The thousands of visitors who come to Tucson every year to see the world famous Sabino Canyon Glacier will be greeted by disappointment this month. It's so hot the glacier is receding.

A study led by a team of inebriated sunbathers from the University of Arizona has found that the glacier has shrunk 13% since last June. The researchers say they suspect that the decline of ice in the Catalina Mountain Range is a result," of changes in the season caused by the earth tilting on its axis as it revolves around the sun." Skeptics argue the shrinkage is due to mule deer licking the ice.

Whatever the cause the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey argue," it's too hot to bicker. The Glacier ain't what it used to be."

Formed during the Little Ice Age, in 1550, the mile-wide glacier was used by native Americans as a source of snow cones in warmer months. Conquistadors were said to have enjoyed figure skating atop the great frozen monolith and according to journals kept by white settlers the glacier was a source of evaporative cooler ice. Today families of Quail can be seen line skating across it.

Tram driver Buster Symington says, “ The glacier is disappearing. See it while you can. And watch out for the cougars on skis. That's a joke. We like to liven our tours with little jokes. Is that a wooly mammoth tusk sticking out of the ice?”

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David Fitzsimmons is the Star's editorial cartoonist.

To reach Fitz call 520-573-4234 (office) or email him at

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