The alien face of Furtwangler

maxresdefaultI posted the above photo of the Furtwangler glacier a while back.  Do you know why the face of the Furtwangler glacier takes on this strangely sculpted, almost alien, look (as opposed to the more fractured look like the following photo of a glacier in Patagonia)?


I was recently re-watching this great NOVA documentary on Kili and I learned something cool (or maybe warm).

Furtwangler glacier takes on this more fluid look because of the shimmers of heat rising from the fumaroles in the crater below.

Kilimanjaro has not actually erupted in human memory, but in the geological time-frame it is not considered extinct –  just dormant.

In the video, the researchers measured the temperature at the surface of the steam vents and found it to be 78 degrees while the air temperature was near arctic.  They estimated the magma under Kili to only be 400 feet below the surface.  It is that heat that rises across the face of the glacier, carving it into such distinctive patterns.

I guess that means that Furtwangler is melting faster than it is fracturing.

Categories: Adventure, Mountaineering, Nature

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