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At the edge of the glacier | by Beppie K
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At the edge of the glacier

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This is from the heli-hike we took on Fox Glacier. They flew us up to a part of the glacier that cannot be reached any other way, and we had several hours hiking on the ice. Our guide took us right up to the edge of the glacier-- he said that he had never been able to go that far himself before.


The mist is caused by the waterfall in the top right of the picture, while in the top left you can see some seracs, formed by different sections of the ice moving at different rates. To the centre-left you can see pools of glacial meltwater-- this water is very fresh and delicious to drink. It falls down through the cracks and crevasses that form in the glacier, until it reaches the ground. Here, it helps the glacier advance-- and for this reason, the glacier actually advances more during the summer than the winter, when there is very little water melting higher up on the glacier.


The black streaks you can see in the ice is sediment that has blown across the Tasman from Australia. Our guide said that it was dirt from the Australian Outback, but I have my doubts about that. While I had, before this trip, heard of the red dust of the outback blowing across the Tasman to settle on New Zealand's snow covered mountains, the veins of dirt in the glacier look to me to be much more like ash from our bushfires.

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Taken on February 11, 2007