A glacier that ends in a waterfall

December 4, 2019 • 3:00 pm

A famous stretch of the Beagle Channel, one of the three ways to get around the southern part of South America, is called “Glacier Alley” (my photos here), whose north side harbors mountains with five famous glaciers that can be seen within a one-hour segment of a cruise. Here’s one, a specimen of a “hanging glacier” that doesn’t touch the water. (I can’t remember its name.) It ends in a waterfall instead of calving off bergs directly into the sea. I took a short video as our ship sailed by.

The Beagle Channel is where Darwin saw his first glacier. As I quoted Wikipedia in my earlier post:

Darwin had his first sight of glaciers when they reached the channel on 29 January 1833, and wrote in his field notebook “It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, and especially as contrasted with the dead white of the upper expanse of snow.”

“Beryl-like blue” is apt. Here’s some blue beryl from a crystal website, and it’s just the color of the glacier.

blue-beryl1.jpg

14 thoughts on “A glacier that ends in a waterfall

  1. That is an outstanding video of a glacier in action. I have heard others talk about all the water under the ice on Greenland and how it might lead to rapid decline of the ice.

  2. It seems you missed an opportunity to confirm James Joule’s theory of the mechanical equivalence of heat (1845)by measuring the temperature at the top and bottom of waterfalls. He urged those living ‘amid the romantic scenery of Wales and Scotland’ to do so to confirm his theory. I can just see you scuttling up and down the rock face armed with a thermometer, and cursing Joule!

  3. This is the Romanche Glacier, named after a French expedition ship that surveyed this area in 1882-1883. This is a great video, but it is aven more impressive in “real life”. For me, it is the most beautiful of the “Five Nations Glaciers.”

  4. This is the Romanche Glacier, named after a French expedition ship that surveyed this area in 1882-1883. This is a great video, but it is aven more impressive in “real life”. For me, it is the most beautiful of the “Five Nations Glaciers.”

  5. I read somewhere that when Darwin visited the place, the Romanche glacier (unnamed at this time) still reached the sea. Such a powerful waterfall so early in the season suggests it is retreating and thinning rather rapidly.

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