Sunday, July 13, 2014

Up Close to a Glacier 2

The piles of dirt and debris at the mouth of this Alaskan glacier near Skagway, are usually referred to as the terminal moraine. As the glacier carves its way down a mountainside, it picks up huge quantities of rock gouged off of the sides of the glacial valley. It carries this load of rocks and silt like a giant conveyor belt and dumps it at the mouth of the glacier. This particular glacier is retreating rapidly and as it melts, it leaves more and more of the dirt and rocks it is carrying. In the not-to-distant past, this glacier ended in the large lake, but now it has retreated up the mountainside. Soon the area at the base of the glacier will begin to be colonized with trees and other plants.

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