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Thursday, 10 October 2013

More rock pinnacles: Ronde Spires and Tarnet Peak

I was looking up some Antarctic information and came across these incredible photos -- from the mountains about 150 km from Queen Elisabeth Base in Antarctica.  They show how pinnacles and even teetering spires can be created through a combination of glacial downcutting and frost shattering on exposed rock surfaces.  You can only get these sorts of features where there is efficient glacial transport to take away the accumulating scree which would otherwise soon build up on the flanks of an isolated rock pinnacle and eventually obliterate it -- and protect what is left in the "core".

The top photo shows the Ronde Spires, and the bottom two show Tarnet Peak from two different directions.


Constantinos Ragazas said...


Incredible scenes! They remind me a little of Meteora in central Greece.

Just curious. Are such peaks found along the border areas between rugged mountains and open spaces?


BRIAN JOHN said...

Not necessarily. Pinnacles like this are usually the last remnants of ridges between valleys that have acted as glacier drainage routes. When upland areas are whittled away by glacial processes, the last remnants of all are usually the "horns" like the Matterhorn, at the meeting point of radiating ridges that have been removed.