Athabasca Glacier Lateral Moraine

August 18, 2011


: Stu Witmer
Summary author: Stu Witmer

Neither my wife nor I are very much into backpacking, but we do like to get out and experience some geology. I’m more into photography and she’s interested in public transit so, while on a recent trip to the Canadian Rockies (my third and my wife’s first), we could not pass up a trip on the snowcoach, the bus that takes tourists out onto a safe bit of Athabasca Glacier, part of the larger Columbia Icefields. I was hugely impressed with the extent of the glacier’s retreat since my first visit in 1962, but there was still enough cracked, blue glacial ice to swallow up a puny human or two, which explains the fact that the Snowcoach only allows passengers to get out in a limited, marked off area. When we arrived at the safe spot and everyone was busy snapping pictures of each other I put my photographer’s eye to work looking for the best light. I found this lovely bit of otherwise undistinguished lateral moraine. The light couldn’t have been more dramatic as it highlighted the erosion on the loosely packed till. The surface of the glacier itself is seen at the bottom of the photo. Photo taken September 24, 2009 at about 3:30 in the afternoon.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON; Camera Model: E5700; Focal Length: 8.9mm (35mm equivalent: 35mm); Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0022 s (1/453); ISO equiv: 200; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Spot; Exposure: program (Auto); White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced); Orientation: Normal;Color Space: sRGB.