By: calpoppy , 8:05 PM GMT on October 02, 2012

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Glaciers have been described as great rivers of ice, they have sculpted valleys and mountains. If you have ever seen them from the air you will have realized their amazing size! And how graceful they look from above.

What is a glacier?

Glaciers are made up of fallen snow that, over many years, compresses into large, thickened ice masses. Glaciers form when snow remains in one location long enough to transform into ice. What makes glaciers unique is their ability to move. Due to sheer mass, glaciers flow like very slow rivers. Some glaciers are as small as football fields, while others grow to be over a hundred kilometers long.

Here is the Exit glacier just outside of Seward. Not very pretty is it.

How to glaciers form?

Glaciers begin to form when snow remains in the same area year-round, where enough snow accumulates to transform into ice. Each year, new layers of snow bury and compress the previous layers. This compression forces the snow to re-crystallize, forming grains similar in size and shape to grains of sugar. Gradually the grains grow larger and the air pockets between the grains get smaller, causing the snow to slowly compact and increase in density. After about two winters, the snow turns into firn—an intermediate state between snow and glacier ice. At this point, it is about half as dense as water. Over time, larger ice crystals become so compressed that any air pockets between them are very tiny. In very old glacier ice, crystals can reach several inches in length. For most glaciers, this process takes over a hundred years.

How do glaciers move?

The sheer weight of a thick layer of ice and the fact that it deforms as a "plastic" material, combined with gravity's influence, causes glaciers to flow very slowly. Ice may flow down mountain valleys, fan across plains, or in some locations, spread out to the sea. Movement along the underside of a glacier is slower than movement at the top due to the friction created as it slides along the ground's surface.

You can see from my photo how the glacier was impacting the mountain.

What are the components of a glacier?

Several visible features are common to most glaciers. At locations where a glacier flows rapidly, giant cracks called crevasses are created, which may make travel across a glacier treacherous. Underneath the glacier, where glacier ice meets the ground, large amounts of rock and soil are ground up by the tremendous weight of the glacier.
Other common glacial features are moraines, created when the glacier pushes or carries along rocky debris as it moves. These long, dark bands of debris are visible on top and along the edges of glaciers. Medial moraines run down the middle of a glacier, lateral moraines along the sides, and terminal moraines are found at the terminus, or snout, of a glacier.

How do glaciers effect the land?

Glacial Erosion
Common all over the world, glaciated valleys are probably the most readily visible glacial landform. Similar to fjords, they are trough-shaped, often with steep vertical cliffs where entire mountainsides were removed by glacial action. One of the most striking examples of glaciated valleys can be seen in Yosemite National Park, where glaciers literally sheared away mountainsides, creating deep valleys with vertical walls.

Glaciated rock from the Exit glacier

Material a glacier picks up or pushes as it moves forms moraines along the surface and sides of the glacier. As a glacier retreats, the ice literally melts away from underneath the moraines, so they leave long, narrow ridges that show where the glacier used to be. Glaciers don't always leave moraines behind, because sometimes the glacier's own meltwater carries the material away.
Streams flowing from glaciers often carry some of the rock and soil debris out with them. These streams deposit the debris as they flow. Consequently, after many years, small steep-sided mounds of soil and gravel begin to form adjacent to the glacier, called kames.

Here is the outflow from the Exit glacier. The road to the glacier was impacted as well with the glacier melt flooding it. Notice the moraines on the sides. The water is grey and not pretty like it is later when you see the glacier water that goes into Kenai Lake.

How does a glacier effect people?

In certain cities including Anchorage Alaska they get their drinking water and hydroelectric power from a glacier. The Eklutna glacier provides all of this to the city.

In the Mat-Su valley outside of Anchorage, glaciers formed a valley and created many lakes. This is the agricultural area of Alaska. Alaskans wonder if the Russians had found the Mat-Su valley would they have sold Alaska to the US at all.

They are beautiful to see on a cloudy day as the light reflects on the ice differently as you can see from my pictures of the Portage glaciers.

Here is a picture of Portage Lake.

More pictures of the Portage glaciers, notice the waterfall coming off the side of the mountain on the left.

The shear size of some of these glaciers are just awe inspiring. There are so many of them in Alaska and only a few are really accessible

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38. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
10:47 PM GMT on October 21, 2012
calpoppy has created a new entry.
37. PugetSoundPost
2:30 PM GMT on October 19, 2012
Thanks for stopping by our photos and it is fun to hear they may inspire a trip! The park is beautiful, no matter the season or weather, but this time for us was especially stunning; and rare to have everything come into perfect alignment at once - weather, sunshine, color, us actually getting there with all of that, etc. It would be fun if you could figure out the bushes - something that grows at 5,000-6,000 feet or so at this latitude.

It is a bit of a stormy morning here - quite a nice rain passed through last evening/overnight/showers today, and it is breezy outside with heavy overcast. Really is fall now.
Member Since: October 8, 2001 Posts: 173 Comments: 871
36. Ylee
11:02 PM GMT on October 18, 2012
Cal, I hope you're feeling better; all that sneezing will scare away the coyotes! :)

Take care!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
35. calpoppy
2:21 AM GMT on October 18, 2012

Hi SP!! You are so right about Mitt, he is manic!!

Hi Karen, they will be up for awhile longer. Cool down is coming, snow level could be dropping down to 6500' in a week or so. There will be a nice cold front coming down.

I was watching the debate by myself and needed to vent, hence the plea to moderator Candy!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
34. SBKaren
1:03 AM GMT on October 18, 2012
Leave your ice and snow up for awhile. It's too hot here and I use your beautiful pictures to cool down!
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 14569
33. sp34n119w
11:56 PM GMT on October 17, 2012
A shock collar for Mitt! LOL! Think he can be re-trained at his age?
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
32. WatchinTheSky
10:54 PM GMT on October 17, 2012
You need to send Candy your taser!!
Maybe the next debate will come with a shock collar for Mitt :)

hmm.. 97 yesterday 101 today, needs to cool down!
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1967
31. calpoppy
2:08 AM GMT on October 17, 2012
Candy you really need shut Mitt up!!!!!!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
30. calpoppy
1:26 AM GMT on October 17, 2012
Would Candy please shut Mitt up!!!!! Lol!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
29. calpoppy
7:44 PM GMT on October 16, 2012
HI GG, twice! Yes they are smart kids :)). You may borrow the taser at any time! I get real tired of Obama bashers in the town I work in. Only conservatives will go up to a complete stranger and start bashing Obama. I am trying to understand that behavior but for right now a taser will work just fine!!!!

Hi WTS! I thought you would get more rain then us. We did have lots of thunder and it was nice to have some rain. Our temps are remaining quite moderate with cool nights. Right now it is trying real hard to reach 80.

Actually my office will be the perfect place to deploy the stun gun or taser. Would you believe people are actually stopping on their own to show me their receipts, do I look like a Wal Mart greeter????????? I haven't even asked any one to stop yet.

Hi Karen! You must be really busy, haven't seen you out and about the blogs much at all. Thanks on the compliments about the blog.

Well, as usual my desire to make a new blog has fallen flat. To many things going on and a cold to boot!! So you will just have to look at ice and snow for a little longer, LOL! I was going to do a Coast Guard blog next but I will have to talk with my son and get some pictures okayed by him. So next stop, Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, AK.

Got my garlic and carrots planted. I sure hope the rows were straight, my sneezing, running nose was sure a hindrance!!!

Fruit cake baking season is almost here, Yeaaaa! Come on, you all love fruit cake don't you??? You would all love mine, it is good and that is coming from a person who doesn't like fruit cake, normally!!! Not baking as much this year, gotta to watch the waist line.

Everyone have a great week, enjoy the sunshine if you have it in your neck of the woods.

Oh SP! I watched the knitting video, I think that particular stitch will be a while for me!!!!

Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
28. GardenGrrl
10:10 AM GMT on October 16, 2012
Can I borrow the "taser" Ylee gave you for Obama bashers at work? Bwaahaha.
Hey, post some more pics, these ones are great and I know you have to have more.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9567
27. SBKaren
1:23 AM GMT on October 13, 2012
Love your blog and information and O M G your pictures! Loved reading about it all. The landscape is so dramatic!

Sounds like fun moving at work (I hope you can hear the sarcasm).

We had lots of thunder and lightning on Thursday AM and a bit of rain too. Even drove through a very light shower today. Ready to warm up again?
Member Since: February 21, 2005 Posts: 195 Comments: 14569
26. WatchinTheSky
5:16 PM GMT on October 12, 2012
Can't believe we got more rain than you this time, even if just a little :) Nothing left now but lots of fluffy clouds and predictions of upper 80s for early next week. But the cool nights are great.
Excellent news on the future dil front! Nice when that works out well..
So now you have a mobile office with a view! A good vantage point to deploy the stun gun?
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1967
25. GardenGrrl
3:32 PM GMT on October 12, 2012
Congrats on a decent DIL! So glad they are sensible. Can't believe how people throw away thousands on a wedding that could be a house down payment and choose to start out broke. Smart kids!

Yeah, I'll be sending you my flashlight/stun gun. Show thoses turkeys "the light" and then light them up. They may think it is a religious experience lol.
Nothing like a born again Dem.

Moving the pond? Now this is sounding like WORK. Good luck.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9567
23. calpoppy
1:25 PM GMT on October 12, 2012
Hi Ylee! Lots of thunder, some rain. 13/100 of an inch to be exact, lol!

Hi SP! I will check out your link on my weekend. On my 4th do over on the alpaca scarf I got smart, switched over to a bigger needle and now things are progressing well!

No more snow and ice, next two blogs helicopters and big critters.

I do feel very lucky my boys picked out gals that fit so well with the family. Not all their choices in girlfriends were so great, lol!

They are moving my office today. They lifted it two feet off the ground with the gradall yesterday and I still needed to get in there and pack up my stuff! So much more to do, the pond needs to be moved and there are many plants in the ground that will need to go sometime in the winter. Sorta sad in a way to see it all torn up. Oh well, it is time to move on and re-decorate the new place.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
22. sp34n119w
9:39 PM GMT on October 11, 2012
I suppose the next blog will have lots of snow and ice in it, too, huh? *sigh*
Congrats on the soon-to-be dil :) Could your sons give my nephews and nieces some tips on finding a mate who is a good fit for the family? LOL

Bringing you some knitting inspiration – saw this tutorial video from newstitchaday and I sure can't do that! Someday.
I've totally blown my fun money for the month (already) on yarn. Many sales. No willpower.

Oh! I have thunder! No rain but the air smells nice :) Sun shining out my window but quite dark to the north – where the thunder is coming from, no doubt. Looky there … a tornado symbol (on Wundermap) a ways to your north. Rotation on several others. What fun this swirly is turning out to be. Hope you get something good out of it!
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
21. Ylee
8:44 PM GMT on October 11, 2012
Getting any rain? The Mt. Wilson cam on my blog is shrouded in rain and fog!

Hey, I rhymed! :)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
20. calpoppy
1:54 AM GMT on October 11, 2012
Hi Briar!! Future dil and son live about 45 minutes away, not a place to take pics lol! Yesi will have more pics for you to search, 2 more blogs on Alaska!!!!

Lol on Elmer Fudd!!!

Hi Ylee! I can't believe you had 96 hours!!!!! You have a good memory, yes future dil is a great cook! She has a masters degree, is a teacher and best of all a great sense of humor. In fact my other dil has a great sense of humor too. We do a lot of laughing!!!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
19. Ylee
10:44 PM GMT on October 10, 2012
Future DIL is the one that can cook, right? I can already hear the "What are you having for supper?" calls, lol! (Just kidding!)

Some snow dusted mountains would be neat to see!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
18. BriarCraft
9:59 PM GMT on October 10, 2012
Maybe you can get your Coastie son to email you a pic of polar bear vs. walrus.

Are oldest son and future DIL planning to live someplace gorgeous that you can visit and photograph? Or will they actually be close enough to come for dinner?

And I saw your threat to upload some more photos for me (and maybe others) to hunt. Picture me with an Elmer Fudd hat, but instead of saying "Where's the Wabit?" I'll be saying "Where's the Poppy Pic?"

ADD: Okay, which way did they go, George? Which way did they go?
I can't find them...
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 82 Comments: 4087
17. calpoppy
9:41 PM GMT on October 09, 2012
HI GG! They never used to when the nursery was in front by the street, but for some reason when they moved it to the very, very, very back I have many plants missing. The same with the bags of concrete that are back away from where employees are, they are always missing a lot.

Hi Ylee! A taser might be fun! One more Obama joke out of you buddy and this taser is for you! LOL!!!

News on the family front! My oldest son is getting married, whoohoooo! I really like the gal he is marrying and I can't believe my luck to be able to have two DIL's that I adore!! Not only is she adorable but practical too. No big wedding (phew!) in fact they are talking about a courthouse wedding. They are saving for a house so that is where their money is going to. Smart kids!

My youngest son is in Barrow today for a two week deployment. His friend was just watching a Polar bear and her cub eat a walrus from 50' away. Now even I wouldn't do that!! Really I wouldn't!! Maybe a 100 but never 50', LOL! It will be an adventure for him.

About the deployment in Barrow, they are there mainly because of Shell, but Shell has its own rescue helicopters that they use and would not call the Coast Guard. Must be another reason....

Back to work tomorrow, rain thursday, cooler temps. Snow level 7000', I would like to see some white up there, just because.

Everyone have a good rest of the week!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
16. Ylee
10:22 AM GMT on October 09, 2012
Ask for a taser, too! That ought to make things entertaining! :)

Drop that Japanese maple! Bzzzzt! LOL!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
15. GardenGrrl
10:15 AM GMT on October 09, 2012
That move sounds like WORK. Funny that people are pilfering plants. The Calloways on the main road has stuff sitting out all night; flats, shrubs etc.

Well, good luck with the new job sheriff ;)
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9567
14. calpoppy
6:23 PM GMT on October 07, 2012
We have a cool down but not like yours yet, Ylee!

With the weather getting cooler it is time to think about planting garlic. Next week or the week after, I still have some butternut squash that needs to ripen some more before I call it a season on those. I have a volunteer watermelon in the main tomato garden, I doubt I will see one ripen though. They crawled up the sides and I have one watermelon hanging from the plant that is doing quite well. Every day a little bigger.

Yesterday we started moving the nursery, I am so glad I cut back on my stock before this!!!! I loaded the trees and shrubs on pallets and the guys took them up to the new location. Then I unloaded the trees and shrubs, I was a bit tired toward the end of the day. Sometime this fall or winter the shade structure will be moved along with my office. Since I am close to the computer line, I may get one, but I won't hold my breath, LOL! Since they moved me to the boonies my stock has been disappearing! I guess people thought it all was free. So now we will be closer to the main area. I will have double duty now, nursery lady and guard dog! I am supposed to stop people at random to check their purchases of lumber and concrete. I told them I want a gun and a badge, they laughed. We are all doing double duty now with the cut back of people at my work so this isn't anything new.

Ohio State remains undefeated, YEA! They demolished Nebraska last night on one of their very few night games. I haven't been able to see them for quite a few years so it was really neat to watch them play and win.

I better get back outside and get my chores done, see you all soon.
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
13. Ylee
9:33 AM GMT on October 06, 2012
Glacier has snow; most of their cams show quite a bit!

We're getting the cold and rain now; presently, it's 44!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
12. calpoppy
2:25 AM GMT on October 06, 2012
Hi Briar! There will be more photos uploaded that I took during my Alaskan trip. I think the one photo that I thought was worthy of an AC that didn't get one was this one:

I really love this picture, maybe cause I was there but it just calls to me!

Hi SP! When you look out on all the valleys and mountains that have been formed from glaciers in many different places besides Alaska it gives you a sense of time. Think of all the time it took for that glacier to carve it all!

No, Brody won't remember it, but we will!

Hi GG! There is a lot of melt water that comes off of those glaciers! It is amazing to see.

HI Ylee! Looking forward to your new cams!!

HI PSP! We are for sure planning more trips up there, so much to see! So glad to see you getting out and about after all the wedding planning!

Hi YCD! You were raised in the valley that we wanted to go see last year when we were in Montana and didn't get a chance too. It is beautiful up there. I have always liked the study of geology, and we both enjoy rock hunting and a little gold panning too!

Those glacial deposits make for mighty fine farm land!

Hi WTS! See I told you there would be a cool down!!!
The quiz will be Monday, be ready!!!!

I am ready for rain, and cold and maybe snow!

Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
11. WatchinTheSky
9:23 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
I knew there were more great photos from that trip! Very well done, I took notes and am ready from the quiz later :)
I have always liked the blue of some glaciers and icebergs, seems soothing.

"How cool is that! I didn't think that was allowed." That's the thing about cute youngsters (can't really say baby anymore!), they can get away with a lot!

Thanks for taking us along.

It's cooling down!
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1967
10. ycd0108
4:08 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
Good morning calpoppy:
Your post justifies all the time I spend checking Member Blogs. Good information and wunderful pictures.
"my photo how the glacier was impacting the mountain" shows two fine "Cirques".
I grew up in the Okanagan Valley at about 1200 feet ASL and remember my uncle mentioning "beach deposites" high up the surrounding mountains. I think this had something to do with my later interest in Geology.
During the most recent Ice Age the interior of B.C. was covered with ice up to a mile deep and I read that the bedrock under the valley was more or less at sea level.
So the pleasant little valley floor we and the neighbours farmed was filled with 1200 feet of glacial deposits.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 179 Comments: 4633
9. PugetSoundPost
2:59 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
Thank you for all of the beautiful Alaska photos and information! I have fallen a bit behind so will summarize that the whole series - of pics and teaching - has been well done and surely highlights the beauty and uniqueness of Alaska! I'm glad you got to take that trip! Probably planning future trips already!
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8. Ylee
2:07 AM GMT on October 05, 2012
Hi, Cal! Gotta go work on my blog! Take care!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
7. GardenGrrl
12:56 AM GMT on October 05, 2012
Hi Calpoppy, great to see more pics from your trip. Nice info about glaciers. Had no idea they could be used for hydroelectric power.
Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9567
6. sp34n119w
10:58 PM GMT on October 04, 2012
Ah, beautiful pics and very informative blog entry :) There is something about the word "moraine" that I just like.

Glad you found a LYS - that's the way to go on winding, if you can, for sure!

Lucky Brody! Think he'll remember that? lol
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
5. BriarCraft
8:56 PM GMT on October 04, 2012
Another great blog. And it prompted me to go on a photo-hunting safari in search of other additions from your Alaska trek. If I found them all, you got 3 ACs out of the trip, and several more that I think were worthy. Thanks for letting us tag along on your trip!
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 82 Comments: 4087
4. calpoppy
10:16 PM GMT on October 02, 2012
Hey Rob! Thanks again for stopping by! I enjoyed your writing on GG's blog!!

Hi Ylee! Thanks! It hasn't helped mine either, LOL! And I got maps of camping spots from Anchorage to Fairbanks today plus some other Alaskan books from Alaska Geographic. The big trip will have to wait a little longer, but New Mexico or Utah isn't so far away.......

A trip to the dentist and the yarn store, plus dealing with nasty allergies have just about done in my days off. Oh well, temps are supposed to cool, let us hope. That will give my allergies a much needed break.

My adorable grandson got to go see the pilot on the airlines they flew on. The stewardess gathered him up to give the parents a break and up they went. How cool is that! I didn't think that was allowed.

The Angels are out of the playoffs so I won't have to worry about them, Ohio State won by one against Michigan State Saturday. I think both my son's blood pressures were a bit high during that game. Glad I was working, can't take those games any more!!

Everyone have a great week enjoy fall!!!!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784
3. Ylee
9:21 PM GMT on October 02, 2012
A most excellent blog, cal! Very well done! Your photos are great, but even if we had 90" computer monitors and 1 gigapixel cameras, we couldn't capture the sheer majesty of these glaciers! You sure don't help my itchy feet, lol!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15714
2. RobDaHood
8:51 PM GMT on October 02, 2012
Very nice!

Thanks for sharing with us.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32190
1. calpoppy
8:22 PM GMT on October 02, 2012
From previous blog

Thanks Ylee for the white rabbits!

Hi SP! I found a yarn store that actually will take the hanks and make them useable! They have really great yarn too!

Thanks Prose for the October greeting!!
Member Since: February 18, 2008 Posts: 53 Comments: 3784

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About calpoppy

If it is wild to your own heart. Protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it. Rick Bass

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