NASA has released a three-color space image of Alaska’s Malaspina Glacier, which makes the massive glacier look like a flaming, wavy blob of paint. The new image highlights recent discoveries in the glacier, including the ‘hidden lake’.
Glacier at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, located on the state’s southeast coast, covers about 1,680 square miles (4,350 square kilometers), making it the largest glacier in North America and the world’s largest Piedmont glacier—a type of lobed glacier that cascades from mountains onto flat land.
Malaspina Glacier is also known as Sít’ Tlein, which means “big glacier” in the Tlingit language spoken by the indigenous people of the area.
The image was taken on October 27 by the Landsat 9 satellite, owned by NASA and the US Geological Survey. Released by NASA Earth Observatory On November 25.
The image is a false-color image created using Infrared. The yellow and orange colors represent ice. Red colors show water. Blue and green colors show where land and vegetation are located, respectively. The ripples or folds in the ice are moraines — collections of soil, rocks and other debris that are scraped away as the glacier slowly moves forward.
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Also visible are the Seward Glacier, which feeds the Malaspina Glacier from the Saint Elias Mountains, and the Agassiz Glacier, which is fed by the same mountain range.
In February, a study was published in the journal Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth’s Surface Studies have revealed that the volume of ice on the Malaspina Glacier had previously been overestimated by about 30%, but if the entire ice mass melted, it could raise average global sea levels by 0.06 inches (1.4 mm), studies have shown. .
The study also revealed that the dark red patch of water, located between the ice and a stretch of land at the end of the glacier, is a saltwater lake that was hiding in plain sight. The lake is warmer than scientists previously expected due to its high salt content, which may accelerate the rate of ice melting.
The researchers also found that there are subglacial water channels running through the rock beneath the glacier. These channels extend up to 22 miles (35 kilometers) under the ice and can accelerate the glacier’s retreat.