Virtual Field Trip #2: Glacier, Glaciers and Glaciation: The Ice Really Was Bigger, Glacier National Park
Image 1: Glacier-free cirque under blue sky in Glacier National Park, Montana. Bear Grass blooming in left foreground. Bear Grass (really a lily, not a grass) blooming in a glacier-carved but now glacier-free cirque along Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana. All photos by R. Alley, except for some of the Alaska pictures, which are by either R. Alley, C. Alley, J. Alley or K. Alley, and we’re not sure on some of them because we kept trading cameras.
Image 2: Glacier-carved scenery, Logan Pass, Glacier National Park. Snow-spotted mountains under cloudy skies, water in foreground. Glacier-carved scenery, Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.
Image 3: Comeron Falls, Waterton Lakes, Alberta, Canada. Water falls from different heights and at different angles. Cameron Falls, Waterton Lakes, Alberta, Canada (Glacier-Waterton Lakes International Peace Park). The rocks were folded by mountain-building, and the waterfall follows the bent layers.
Image 4: Female bighorn sheep at driver’s side window of car. Glacier National Park. Female bighorn sheep, Glacier National Park. In search of salt, she was going from car to car, licking steering wheels where perspiring hands had left deposits.
Image 5: Male bighorn sheep among boulders, greenery in background. Canada, near Glacier National Park. Bighorn sheep. This ram was over the border in Canada, but surely has relations in Glacier.
Image 6: Eight mountain goats on mountain side in Glacier National Park. Mountain goats are aptly named. Glacier National Park.
Image 7: Glacier National Park. Valley with green mountainsides and two “paternoster” lakes in view. Glacially carved “paternoster” lakes, Glacier National Park.
Image 8: Cliff in Glacier National Park, that was eroded when it was the side of a glacier that since melted away. Glacially truncated cliff. The ridge on the left was cut off by a glacier that reached at least as high as the sunlit peak, and that flowed over the point where the photographer stands. Glacier National Park.
Image 9: Surface of Greenland Ice sheet with view of melterwater stream entering blue lake at left center. Meltwater stream entering lake, surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet. At higher elevation, the ice-sheet surface is just snow. Such ice sheets now cover 1/10 of the Earth’s land, but during the last ice age covered almost 3 times more.
Image 10: Eight caribou on the dulled white surface of the Greenland ice sheet. Caribou on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, here about 1 mile from the edge, avoiding mosquitoes. Healed crevasses are evident. This is in the ablation zone, and meltwater plus wind-blown dust have dulled the white snow.
Image 11: Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park. Blue ice visible in foreground, background glaciers grey. Bald Eagle sits on peak in center. Bald eagle (arrow) on top of Margerie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Glaciers can be large. Glacier ice is blue, as seen here, for the same reasons that water is blue (preferential absorption of red by water molecules).
Image 12: Bald Eagle sitting atop a flag pole in Sitka, Alaska, near Glacier Bay National park. Bald eagle, Sitka, Alaska, near Glacier Bay National Park, in case you wanted to know what the bald eagle in the previous picture looks like. Mostly, this is an excuse to stick in a cool picture.
Image 13: Northwest Fjord, east Greenland. Iceberg under blue sky and surrounded by blue water. Float-plane propeller right foreground. Iceberg behind float-plane propeller, Northwest Fjord, east Greenland. The berg reaches about 400 feet above the water, and is close to one-half-mile long.
Image 14: Harbor seal on small iceberg, Glacier Bay national Park, Alaska. Harbor seal on very small iceberg, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Glaciers lose mass either by melting, or by calving icebergs.
Image 15: Cloudy skies and double rainbows over a bright white iceberg in Scoresby Sound, NE Greenland National Park. Rainbow above iceberg, Scoresby Sound, NE Greenland National Park. Icebergs are highly relevant to the study of glaciers and ice ages, but we’re not above sticking in pictures primarily because they’re pretty.
Image 16: A Fulmar in flight over a sea of ice, NE Greenland National Park. Fulmar in front of sea ice, NE Greenland National Park. Sea ice is frozen ocean water, usually less than 10-20 feet thick. Icebergs calve from glaciers formed from snowfall, and can be more than 1000 feet thick and the size of small states.
Image 17: Marble Island, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, covered with sea lions. Marble Island, in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, was scoured smooth by glaciers, and is now home to numerous sea lions.
Image 18: A bald eagle soars among a large number of sea gulls and ravens at South Marble Island, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. An immature bald eagle (arrowed) concerns the gulls and ravens of South Marble Island, a glacially scoured rock in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.
Image 19: A humpback whale breaching in the fjords of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. The deep, glacially carved fjords of Glacier Bay National Park and surrounding Alaska are home to humpback whales and other charismatic macrofauna (big, cute critters).
Image 20: Small island in Kong Oskar Fjord,Greenland, with raised beaches that formed as the island rose from the ocean. Raised beaches form a bulls-eye on this small island in east Greenland. Melting of ice sheets raised global sea level at the end of the ice age, but some regions that had been depressed under the former ice sheets rebounded faster than the sea rose, raising beaches out of the water.
Image 21: Satellite image of Chesapeake Bay, an old river valley that was flooded by the rising sea as the ice-age sheets melted. Satellite image of Chesapeake Bay. Geological study of the Bay and its surroundings confirms what you can see by inspection: the bay is a drowned river valley, indicating either that sea-level rose or the land fell fairly recently (mud is filling the bay; if the change happened a long time ago, the bay would be filled). Similar features along many coasts, including those being raised tectonically, show that sea level rose rather than the land falling.