Search This Blog

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Ice floats and ice falls

Today the weather was an improvement over the last few days. There was a cold southerly at first after which the skies cleared. We went for a walk up the Hooker Valley, past the Mueller Lake, and up to the Hooker Glacier lake. The mountains on all sides are spectacular, with Mount Cook dominating the view in the background.

At the Hooker Glacier lake we could see the terminal face of the glacier. You can see curved rock layers in the ice where it is breaking off into the lake. There are quite a few of these proglacial lakes in the area, and all of them are expanding rapidly these days. The water undercuts the ice face until large pieces break off and float away as icebergs. The remaining ice below water level then becomes buoyant and breaks off in huge chunks which then pop up to the surface from below. Check out here to see a video we took of this happening back in February!


On the way back to the car park, we saw a couple of huge avalanches crashing down the East Face of Mount Sefton. These were the biggest avalanches I have ever seen, and must have involved thousands of tonnes of ice coming of the vertical ice cliffs.





I even managed to capture one of the avalanches on video:

No comments: