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. While on a recent trip to the Canadian Rockies, we could not pass up a ride on the snow coach, 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 snow coach 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: NIKON E5700; Focal Length: 8.9mm; Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0022 s (1/453); ISO equiv: 200.