Phenomena

Glacier Flows

These astronaut photos show Patagonian glaciers as seen from space. Glaciers form over many years when snow accumulates in larger amounts than it melts or sublimates. Over time the snow collects and is compacted into a dense ice which slowly flows downslope due to gravity. Many of the dark streaks in the photos are moraines, sediment formations deposited by the movement of the ice. Lateral moraines often line the edges of a glacier, and when two or more glaciers flow together, like in the lower left corner of both photos, the lateral moraines of each of the glaciers combine to form a medial moraine running through the combined glacial flow.  (Photo credits: M. Hopkins and K. Wakata)

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