Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Elephant Foot Glacier

The unique “Elephant Foot Glacier” in northeastern Greenland looks like a bowl of batter that has been poured over a pan. The Elephant Foot Glacier is located on the Kronprins Christian Land peninsula. The sheer pressure of the zillion-ton ice has broken through the mountain and spilled into the sea in close to symmetric, fan-shaped lobe. 

This kind of glaciers is known as “piedmont glaciers”, and the Elephant Foot Glacier is a textbook example of it. Its form is so distinctive that it stands out melodramatically from its environments when viewed from high above. Glaciers are one of the most strange of the earth’s natural phenomena. These rivers of frozen snow amassed from numbers of centuries of precipitation are so thickly packed that it surpasses its overall ablation. 

They’re in a continuous state of flux, flowing down in the direction of the slope in the direction of a valley or a water body. Therefore, you can’t really tell if it’s moving but come back in a few decades and you’ll be able to see the intense change in the landscape. The Elephant Foot Glaciers is not connected to Greenland’s main ice sheet. Rather, it’s part of a network of glaciers and ice caps that hangs around the periphery of the island. Moreover, exploration has shown that as an entire, these remote glaciers and ice caps account for five to seven % of Greenland’s total ice coverage, but they are accountable for 20 % of its contribution to sea level rise. 

Moreover, another example of piedmont glaciers is the “Malaspina Glacier” in southeastern Alaska. A 65 kilometer long and 45-km wide, it is the largest piedmont glacier in the world. The glacier arises where several valley glaciers, primarily the Seward Glacier and Agassiz Glacier, spill out from the Saint Elias Mountains onto the coastal plain facing the Gulf of Alaska.