Glacial Meltwater

September 17, 2002

Epsn0051 copy

Provided by: Dorothy Hall, NASA/GSFC
Summary authors & editors: Dorothy Hall; Jim Foster

As shown on the above photo, at the terminus or end of the Athabaska Glacier in the Columbia Icefields (Canadian Rockies of Alberta), a raging meltwater stream beneath the face of the glacier has undercut the ice, leaving a thin ledge of unstable, actively-melting ice above. Note the water dripping from the ice ledge. This picture was taken in August (2002) when the lowest areas on glaciers (ablation zone) in the Northern Hemisphere often experience rapid melting. A number of interesting features related to a glaciers plumbing can be observed in the ablation zone during late summer.

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