Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rock Glacier: View from Above!

rock glacierThis photo is courtesy of MOH, who climbed to the top of Wheeler Peak. Click to enlarge.

There it is, the rock glacier as seen from the top of Wheeler Peak. You can see how snow surrounds the entire rock glacier, and you can see the small, bluish green lake that sits in the lower part of the rock glacier. Also, note the difference between the smoother, rounded lobe of the upper portion of the rock glacier and the lumpy, more irregular lower portion of the rock glacier.

For another view, check out this MSRMaps image. The USGS image is dated 9/14/1999, and the lake is nowhere to be seen.

Wheeler Peak is inside Great Basin National Park


Roads said...

Fascinating stuff, Silver Fox.

There are two famous glaciers nearby to each other, close to Briançon in SE France which showcase the differences between ice and rock-strewn glaciers.

Logically enough they are the Glacier Blanc and the Glacier Noir...

See also: Glacier Blanc and Glacier Noir

You say (lower down) that this one might be shrinking. Any ideas on how long it might have left, or what is the rate of retreat? Those long hot desert summers must have an effect, even at 3,000 metres or more...

Silver Fox said...

Thanks, Roads, for the interesting glacier links!

As for the Wheeler Peak glaciers, the rock glacier has apparently been inactive for a while. As for the glacier itself, hidden from our view behind the rock glacier because we didn't go any higher than we did - I don't really know. It was active in the 90's. I couldn't find anything more recent than the 2001 paper, and couldn't tell for myself since I didn't even go up that high. (And I'm not really a glacial geologist, anyway!) If I find out anything new, I'll update the post.