The Malaspina Glacier, in Southeastern Alaska, is the largest piedmont glacier on Earth. Because of its size, the glacier can only be photographed in its entirety from space. Most of the pictures we have of the glacier come from NASA. Piedmont glaciers are flat glaciers that occur when ice that was previously trapped by mountain valleys is able to spread out onto lowlands. The glacier moves in surges that push dirt and rocks outward into expanding concentric patterns, which creates the visible lines in the glacier. The Malaspina Glacier covers a land area of more than 3,900 square kilometers or about 1,500 square miles. Malaspina Glacier p5 You can see where the Malaspina Glacier is relative to other Alaskan landmarks Source NorCalHistory - NASA Malaspina Glacier p4 Picture from August 1989 Source NASA Johnson Malaspina Glacier p3 On September 24, 2014, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image Source: NASA Earth Observatory Malaspina Glacier p2 Taken by Landsat satellite which shows glacial ice in light blue, snow in white, vegetation in green, bare rock in grays and tans, and the ocean (foreground) in dark blue. Source NASA Malaspina Glacier p1 1994 photo from STS-66 Source...Read More
A helicopter flying over the Fox Glacier in New Zealand crashed during bad weather last weekend, killing all seven passengers. Four of the victims were British tourists and two were Australian. The pilot, who had 3,000 hours of flying experience, was from New Zealand. The main body of the helicopter was found crushed between blocks of ice the size of houses and debris from the crash was spread across 100 meters. Rugged conditions made it difficult for rescuers to retrieve the bodies. The region has experienced bad weather since the beginning of the tourist season, with low hanging clouds and rains. A local official, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, told the Telegraph, a British newspaper. Fox Glacier crash: Four British tourists killed in New Zealand helicopter accident https://t.co/ZlxYsWAhbRpic.twitter.com/Ky9lGuPOm6 — The Telegraph (@Telegraph) November 21, 2015 Glaciers on New Zealand’s Southern Island have retreated in recent years, forcing tourism companies to fly tourists to glaciers by helicopter, Kokshoorn added. Tourists typically take a ten-minute flight to the Fox Glacier and walk around for half an hour before returning. Since 2008, there have been seven plane and helicopter accidents on glaciers in New Zealand. Earlier this year a helicopter crashed on the Poerua Glacier in Westland National Park. The three people on board survived. Four tourists survived when their helicopter rolled on the Richardson Glacier in 2014 and in 2013 11 people were rescued when two helicopters collided on the Tyndall Glacier. 7 feared dead in New Zealand helicopter crash: https://t.co/OvOKPr24llpic.twitter.com/pyiOEqNvUW — CNN International (@cnni) November 21, 2015 “We’re hurting. It’s a real tragedy today,” Rob Jewell, chairman of the Glacier Country Tourism Group, said in a statement. “We’ll just do what we can to make this as easy as we...Read More
The Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten) in Lucerne is Switzerland’s premiere Glacier Museum. The museum is almost 150 years old, but the special exhibition “Glaciers of the World” is brand new. “Glaciers of the World” was opened on November 4th 2015, and will conclude on April 10th 2016. Together with glaciologists and photographers, Jürg Alean has designed exhibition in which large panoramas of glaciers from around the world are on display, along with pictures of mysterious ice structures, and glacier-dwelling animals and plants. Photographs featured in the exhibit were taken by Jürg Alean and Michael Hambrey. The Gacier Garden, where the exhibit is displayed, was first opened in 1873, following the owner’s discovery of strange rock formations and holes on the grounds. Upon scientific examination these uniquely smooth rocks and divots were found to be evidence of a glacier that once covered the area. Today Swiss glaciers exist only on the highest mountains, but the findings corroborated the story that glaciers once covered the land. “Glaciers are fascinating, not only for specialists, but also for our [museum] guests,” Andreas Burri, director of Glacier Garden told GlacierHub in an email. “Most [people] don’t have the opportunity to go on a glacier and if these glaciers are far away in the Arctic or Antarctic, the visit is nearly impossible.” The greatest impact that the Glacier Garden has on people is in allowing people to discover glaciers. This discovery is heightened by the realization of how quickly our remaining glaciers are disappearing. “An important aspect is the discussion of the climatic change,” Burri added. “People became sensitive to environmental or disappearing phenomenas like glaciers. In the Alps, the declining of the glaciers is obviously...Read More
On November 9th, New Horizons mission geologists presented evidence that Pluto’s largest and most distinctive mountains might indeed be cryovolcanoes, or ice volcanoes, that are likely to have been active in Pluto’s recent geological past. The findings are just one of over fifty new reports of exciting discoveries about Pluto, revealed just four months after the New Horizons spacecraft first encountered the dwarf planet. Geologists and astronomers presented this new research at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in National Harbor, Maryland, which began on November 9th. New Horizons geologists presented 3-D elevation maps of Pluto’s surface, specifically of two of Pluto’s largest mountains, informally named Wright Mons and Piccard Mons. “These are big mountains with a large hole in their summit, and on Earth that generally means one thing—a volcano,” said Oliver White, New Horizons postdoctoral researcher with NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, in a New Horizons blog post. The elevation maps suggest that these two distinctive mountains, which measure tens of miles across and several miles high, could be ice volcanoes. The research team is still tentative in its conclusions, but their current hypothesis strongly explains the geological formation of the two mountains. White says, “If they are volcanic, then the summit depression would likely have formed via collapse as material is erupted from underneath. The strange hummocky texture of the mountain flanks may represent volcanic flows of some sort that have travelled down from the summit region and onto the plains beyond.” The scientists don’t yet have all the explanations of their hypothesis, though. White muses, “Why they are hummocky, and what they are made of, we...Read More
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