Glacier appearances


There was something I wanted to say about the difference between European and New Zealand glaciers, but I forgot what it was.  I have it written down at home somewhere.  Oh, I found it.  The glaciers on the Austrian/Italian border (pictured above) look cleaner (less debris cover), greyer (because of dusty layers), and smoother than those I had seen in New Zealand.


This is a photograph of the Franz Josef Glacier on the West Coast of New Zealand. This glacier is heavily crevassed on this lower part because of the steep bedrock slope underneath the glacier.  It is also quite blue because of the water content within the ice. The debris-covered flanks and medial moraine show that the glacier transports a lot of rocks.

Of course, not all glaciers in New Zealand are like this, but the wet, maritime climate of New Zealand and tectonic activity (which makes steep mountains and ample rock debris) will keep these glaciers looking different from those in the dry, continental climate of the European Alps.


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