The photo above showing a delicately balanced boulder was captured in the ablation zone of the Matanuska Glacier near Anchorage, Alaska. This angular rock, about 10 ft (3 m) across, was transported by the glacier from far up the valley. Eventually, the remaining bit of ice will melt out from underneath it leaving behind a large, isolated rock — a glacial erratic. Photo taken on July 29, 2009. Credit: Mark Meyer. (via EPOD)
A satellite image of Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on Earth located on Ross Island in Antarctica close to the South Pole, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes over 160 active volcanoes Picture: Planet Observer / SPL / Barcroft Media. (via Telegraph)
Russia’s northernmost territory, Franz Josef Land, is an archipelago of 191 islands in the northeastern Barents Sea. On August 17, 2011, clear skies allowed the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite this unobstructed view. Clouds fringe this natural-color scene, like curtains held back from a window. Around the islands, sea ice forms serpentine shapes of light gray and dull white. The glaciers that cap many of the islands are bright white. In ice-free areas, land cover is pale brown, typical of tundra. (via NASA Earth Observatory)
Springtime at Marsʼ South Pole (by Lunar and Planetary Institute)
About two-thirds of the image is covered by part of the southern polar ice cap and other scattered ice deposits, near a feature known as Ulyxis Rupes. Ulyxis Rupes is a large cliff with a length of 390 km and a height of up to 1 km. The left side of the image is dominated by the polar capʼs ice shield, which is covered by dark dusty material that hides the bright ices beneath. (…) Just northward of the ice shield, about halfway across the image, there are large ice deposits that are heavily covered by overlying material blown into long dunes by the prevailing winds in this region. The orientation of the dunes suggests the wind must come predominantly from the northwest. With increasing distance from the south pole, ice becomes confined to larger impact craters, such as the one in the top right of the image. (…) Puzzling parallel structures in the martian dust can be seen in the bottom right quarter of the image. Although their origin is uncertain, it is possible that they are the result of underlying ice deposits, permanently frozen because they are protected by overlying dust and rocks. Image taken in January 2011.
Increased melting of sea ice is an “unerring indicator” of climate change, according to scientists. Although satellite data observing Arctic sea ice levels has only been available since 1972, some models say that this year’s record could be the lowest in 8,000 years.
(via Nature News)
Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado contains many U-shaped glacial valleys, each of which ends at bowl-shaped region called a cirque. Cirques are the locations where glaciers accumulate most of their snow and ice, and so are the starting points for most glacial ice. Glacial erosion tends to create steep headwalls that frame in the cirque. The photo above shows the upper reaches of Glacier Gorge, which contains two cirques that merge downwards into one. The small peak (Spearhead) near the center of the photo forms a feature called an arete, as it separates the smaller cirques. (…) In the lower left corner, a hiker is perched on an outcrop of Proterozoic granite, directly in front of Longs Peak. Photo taken July 16, 2011. Credit: Marli Bryant Miller. (via EPOD)