We’ve covered images from NASA’s Operation IceBridge on Photo Fridaybefore. But as any good project is wont to do, they continue to release spectacular images on their main site and Twitter page. The project began its 9th year with the launch of two simultaneous campaigns. This is a first for the project, launching two flights from two continents (South America and Antarctica) at the same time, but the team hopes it will allow them to expand their coverage into East Antarctica while maintaining surveys near the Antarctic Peninsula.
This Friday, enjoy some images of glaciers from a recent NASA IceBridge flight.
The delicate Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), which blooms just after the snow melts, is our indication that spring is here! The species is now blooming in mountainous areas like the Rocky Mountains and will continue to bloom until mid-August. The flower grows best in rich, moist soil along stream banks and in meadows. Bears, deer, elk, and ground squirrels all eat different parts of the droopy flower, also known as the Avalanche Lily. Meriwether Lewis, famous for the early 19th century Lewis and Clark expedition, mentioned the species numerous times in his 1806 journal. Historians speculate that Lewis’ interest stemmed from the flower’s status as a harbinger of spring.
The beauty and grandeur of glaciers inspire some people to get tattoos of these natural wonders on their skin. Despite the vastness of glaciers, their presence on Earth may be less permanent than those tattoos, due to increased melting caused by global warming. The ways in which people choose to immortalize glaciers also vary. Some designs capture the simple beauty, while others focus on memories or experiences on glaciers.
Washington is the second most-glaciated state in the United States, after Alaska. Mount Baker, located in the North Cascade Range, is an active stratovolcano that contains about 49 square kilometers of glaciers. The region is a popular skiing destination and the surrounding Skagit Valley provides a beautiful location from which to photograph glaciers.
Chris Pribbernow is an outdoor and sports photographer based in Washington. He recently captured the Skagit Valley and Mount Baker glaciers. Take a look at some of the photographs from his visits or see his other images from Washington State @PribbernowPhotography.
NASA’s IceBridge project looks at Earth’s polar regions in the largest ever collection of images taken from air.
As NASA states, “These flights will provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the Greenland and Antarctic ice.”
The speed of ice and glacial melt continues to surprise scientists. This project will provide a unique and informative three-dimensional view.
Currently information is being collected by regional observation and satellite data collected from NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). Being able to pair this data with the new three-dimensional images could lead to crucial advances in the field.
When we think of imaginary mountains, we often think of dream-like peaks and impossible journeys. Throughout history, painters, writers, and adventurers have portrayed mountains as powerful illusions.
In The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Thoreau captures the ethereal qualities of mountains that inspire such human flights of fancy:
“I lost myself quite in the upper air and clouds, seeming to pass an imaginary line which separates a hill, mere earth heaped up, from a mountain, into a superterranean grandeur and sublimity…unhandselled, awful, grand. It can never become familiar; you are lost the moment you set foot there. You know no path, but wander, thrilled, over the bare and pathless rock, as if it were solidified air and cloud.”
Be inspired by this collection of imaginary mountains from artists around the web.
Over winter break from my PhD program in Arizona, I traveled to Washington State to visit my partner’s family and see old friends. While there, the strong El Nino event affecting global weather this year contributed to persistent high pressure in the region– causing unusual clear blue skies for days on end. The rare winter clarity provided unprecedented views of the region’s beautiful glaciers.
Washington State is home to some of the country’s youngest and tallest mountains– the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. The Olympic Range was created by the movement of the Cascadia subduction zone millions of years ago, while the Cascade range, made up of active volcanic peaks, is driven by the same tectonic subduction. Puget Sound and islands in it, which separate the two mountain ranges, are the remnants of glacial valleys and moraines that were created during the last ice age.
Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at email@example.com.
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.