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Day 39: Glacial Milk and Flour


My fascination with glaciers started during my summit of Chimborazo, a 20,000 some foot mountain in Ecuador, in 1991.  I’ll never forget how intrigued I was with the ice formations that stool higher than my head and the wide gaping crevices.

Click here to read more about this mountain

Due to it’s position on the equatorial bulge, Chimborazo is the highest peak if measured from the center of the earth.

After that climb I began reading all that i could about glaciers; their formation, history and personalities.  Yes, Glaciers are fascinating characters.

Here’s a great site to learn a little more about these beasties:

Click here to learn more about Glaciers

Click here to learn more about Glaciers


 

In the mean time here are a few tidbits:

1.  Largest glacier in the world

lambert-glacier

Courtesy of antarcticglaciers.org Click to read more about this glacier.

The Lambert-Fisher Glacier in Antarctica, is 250 miles long and approximately 60 miles wide (roughly the size of Rhode Island). It’s a whopping 8202 feet deep (roughly the height of Mount Shasta) and drains 8% of the Antarctic ice sheet.


2.  Some glaciers “Gallop.”

images

Click here to read a famous story about a Galloping Glacier.

A galloping glacier can advance many feet a day.  The Hubbard Glacier (in Alaska) once moved at a rate of 32 feet a day for months.  You can witness movement when a glacier “calves.”


3.  Glaciers are retreating; a worrisome sign for scientists.

Image provided by Jeffrey Kargel, USGS/NASA JPL/AGU, through the NASA Earth Observatory.

Click for a great article on glaciers and global warming. Image provided by Jeffrey Kargel, USGS/NASA JPL/AGU, through the NASA Earth Observatory.


4.  Some glaciers “Calve.”

Glacier2

Click here to see a calving in action

This is how icebergs are born. It’s the process of ice breaking off the terminus of a glacier into a body of water.


5.  Some glaciers “Hang.”

Click to learn more about Hanging Glaciers. Photo by Mierk Schwab

Click to learn more about Hanging Glaciers. Thank you Mierk Schwabe for the use of your photo.

Click here to check out more   Mirk Schwabe  photos. 

These are seen in alpine areas and result due to the angle of the mountainside.  As the glacier moves it cascades down as avalanches and icefalls.


6.  Glaciers have Ice Worms.

2002818141

Picture courtesy of Seattle Times. Click on image to read story.

  Surprisingly, there are worms that live in the depths and surfaces of glaciers.  You wouldn’t think anything could grow in such a harsh and desolate climate.


7.  Glaciers make MILK and FLOUR.

flour

Glacier flour. Click here to see a quick video.

A very fine sediment created by the grinding of glacial ice against rock flows from the glacier.  It’s a powder as fine as chalk and it stays suspended in the run off water as it travels from the foot of the glacier all the way down rivers and into lakes.  The Milk gives the water a, well, milky appearance and in lakes it can create a soft turquoise color.

The Poodles and I had a great time hiking along a milk and flour filled river.  It was fascinating to see the clear streams entering the main milky river and how the confluences mixed.

river milk

TO BE CONTINUED⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒⇒

7 thoughts on “Day 39: Glacial Milk and Flour

    • Thanks Lynzie, That’s one of the reason I love to be in the out-of-doors. I never cared for geography or geology until I started traveling and exploring. Now I can really appreciate it and love researching it, of course the internet helps quite a bit too. What part of Earth science interests you the most?

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      • Well, my grandparents were rockhounds and so they sparked a passion for rocks, gems and minerals. I love forrest ecology, and just being the mountains makes me feel something. The awesomeness of how grand it all is and how it came to be is just amazing.

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  1. This is so fascinating…..VIKKI ..I HAVE MET AN ARTIST: MARIA CORYELL-MARTIN..who is a glacier enthusiast…she has a website :expeditionaryart.com Maria has travel around the world painting and studying glaciers…she has a blog..very interesting..she lives in Seattle…I really think you would enjoy…

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  2. Interesting – looks like the White River in Washington which was the first river in the west that I saw that kind of sediment. This was a great lesson and glaciers fascinate me as well! Must be a mountain thing (and ice). Ice worms was really cool!

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