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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Glacier Table

Another in my occasional series of photos of the world of ice.  This is a "glacier table" on a glacier in the Swiss Alps.  A large erratic has blocked incoming solar radiation and has effectively shut off the ice melting process.  So the ice around it has been ablated, or melted away, while the area in shade has been protected.  The result is a pillar of glacier ice -- as you can see, as the season progresses, and as the sun lowers in the sky, the flanks of the pillar become exposed to direct sunlight.  Eventually so much opf the pillar will be melted that the weight of the boulder can no longer be supported.  Then the whole thing will collapse -- and maybe the process will start again next year.

From the wonderful "Glaciersonline" web site.

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