Not All Glaciers Are Snowy & White!

Muldrow Glacier fade to AK Range

Just beyond the fall color tundra lies a portion of the Muldrow Glacier in Denali NP&P; it is the dark colored undulations that fade back towards The Alaska Range.  This glacier originates from Denali and is the landing field for the bush planes transporting mountain climbers for an attempt to summit Denali.  At one time this portion of the glacier was snowy and white but over time the winds in the Park have blown considerable soil onto the glacier and then local fauna has taken root and is actually growing on the soil covering the ice and snow.

2 thoughts on “Not All Glaciers Are Snowy & White!

  1. This was new information to me! Thank you! Good photo, too.

    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

    • Hi Tom – Thanks for the kind words! Most folks think of just ‘blue ice and snow’ when they think of glaciers yet its not all that uncommon to see ‘dirty’ glaciers although I’ve never seen one as caked with soil and fauna as the toe of the Muldrow Glacier. Once in a great while one will see striped sections of glacial ice colored red, green or blue. These are caused by algae growing within the ice and most often occur on tidewater glaciers (i.e. those that end in large lakes or the ocean). Technically the Muldrow Glacier would be termed an ‘Alpine’ Glacier although usually you see this term used to describe glaciers well up the sides of mountains; they may also be called ‘Hanging’ Glaciers.

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