Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coldest Cruise (part3)

Now let's transfer to the helicopter and land on one of the biggest glaciers of Alaska. 

Its length is 50 km and width is 3 km. And it's always in motion. But what enchants you most of all is its wonderful blue glow that makes its way through the thin snow cover.

Special glacial shoes are given to everybody before the flight. They are put on over your own shoes.

The glacier constantly moves away forming new fjords.

The ice of a glacier was formed differently from the way it forms in a refrigerator. A long time ago every winter brought about 30 m of snow. And even summer wasn't enough for it to melt away and the snow level continued to constantly grow. Eventually, the lower layers of snow were so compressed that turned into the ice. And this kind of ice is 20 times harder than the ice in our refrigerators.

The top layer of the glacier is covered with mud and stones for a reason. When the upper layer melts, all the mud stays. And soon it becomes very dirty.

Water has one quality - when there is too much of it, it becomes blue. Remember the sea - it's blue but when you take some water in your hands, it seems to be transparent. The same thing with ice. If it's a cube from the refrigerator, it's white and transparent, but if it's a huge glacier, it seems blue to us.

Sometimes the glacier cracks.

And some cracks appear to be really deep. The big stone of a watermelon size has been falling into this crack for 5 seconds.

Brooks run across the glacier. The melted water flows down and forms a river.

The glacier grinds stones into the dust which makes the river turbid. But if it settles, it will become emerald.

That's why the ocean near the glacier is also of that color.

via sergeydolya

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