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Friday, 11 November 2011

Now for something very strange..........

This is specially for Kostas!  A most peculiar phenomenon from the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru -- a big sheet of ice with circular holes in it!!  There are more or less vertical ice walls -- some bedrock is showing up in the larger of the "dry" holes to left of centre.  I wish I could get better resolution here -- but this is the biggest version of the photo I could find.  The really large hole is full of water and floating ice fragments which have calved off the ice face.  As we can see, this is a highly crevassed glacier very high up (5,470m) in the Andes.  The ice cap is diminishing at a phenomenal rate -- it has shrunk 20% since 1978.

What's the reason for these holes?  Difficult to say -- the middle-sized hole doesn't seem to be a moulin, and there is no obvious surface meltwater stream flowing into it.  There is some complex glacial hydrology here -- there have been various studies of water supply potential.  I suspect there might be large subglacial tunnels and rapid meltwater flow -- leading to occasional collapses of the overlying glacier ice.


Tony H said...

We could all be going round in circles with this one! Anyone going to link this with our friend Erik Von Daniken's '60s UFO notions? He went to town (and to the Bank where he was handsomely rewarded for his efforts) with his own interpretations of the Nasca lines, geoglyphs in Peru's southern coastal desert.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes -- I await Kostas's triumphant pronouncements with eager anticipation! I've been trying to find round holes in the ice for him for AGES -- all part of the service.

In fairness I'm happy to admit to not knowing what's going on here -- all we can do is speculate!

Anonymous said...

Could it be a dark coloured erratic sitting in it's own crater?
A dark coloured erratic might have this sort of effect on it's environment once it sits on bedrock and can no longer melt straight down, it's irradiated solar heat would then tend to relentlesly melt the ice around it... possibly ?
I wonder what this place looked like a year ago ?

Constantinos Ragazas said...


I think we can agree there is more to ice than meets the eyes.

This phenomenon in this photo currently going on at the Andes is just the 'tip of the iceberg!'. But the 'rapid melting' of this glacier may match some of the conditions during the rapid melt of the glaciers. My sense is that the combination of 'ice and fire' may help explain aspects of the geomorphology of prehistoric times in southern UK.

In this photo, Brian, we can see the formation of Stonehenge as well as the Avenue! With some 'local variations' of course.

I wont gloat! All I ask is for my ideas to be taken seriously. I was there!


BRIAN JOHN said...

More or less as predicted, Kostas! Not that I'm any more inclined to believe your hypothesis today than I was yesterday....

Constantinos Ragazas said...


Neither you nor I or anyone else knows for sure how Salisbury Plain looked like at the time when Stonehenge was made. We both have 'working hypothesis'.

You believe glaciers advanced to cover Salisbury Plain. I believe a local ice sheet covered the land. While still others believe the land was the same as it is today.

But here is the difference. While your hypothesis explains one thing, my hypothesis explains everything. Too rich, you think? Too true, I say!

Any fair and balanced debate on Stonehenge needs someone like me to argue for Nature. Non-Brits don't bother. While Brits bother too much. So what explains my interest? Could I keep silent knowing what I know? Would you?