Glacial Movement

In the summer of 2011 while on holiday in Zermatt I crossed the Gorner Glacier on a trip to see the new Monte Rosa Hut. Click here to see my post on the ‘Monte Rosa Hut Trail’. During that same holiday I also took some semi-abstract images looking directly down onto the Gorner Glacier from the vantage point of Gornergrat. Those images were also published on this blog in ‘The Gorner Glacier’. Click the link to see that post.

One of the images I took of the glacier in July 2011 is shown below. In summer the glacier is ‘dry’; meaning that surface lying snow has melted away exposing the hard ice of the underlying glacier. Under these conditions all the crevasses become clearly visible, making glacier travel a lot safer. Melt water carves deep meandering channels into the surface of the ice, pursuing a course not unlike a lazy river.

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Earlier this year, 18 months later, I was back in Zermatt for 10 days skiing and once again went back up to Gornergrat. Looking down onto the Gorner Glacier – in winter fully snow covered – I was astonished to spot the unmistakable outline of what I had photographed 18 months earlier. See the second image below.

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I am certain that I am not mistaken. There are striking similarities between the features in these two images that I am sure are not chance occurrences. This has to be the same stretch of the glacier. It provides striking evidence of the slow movement of this glacier. This glacier cannot have moved more than 100-200 metres over the 18 months between the taking of these two images.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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15 Responses to Glacial Movement

  1. Len says:

    That is quite a difference there Andy. Some coincidence that you found the same spot.

  2. oneowner says:

    You must have been standing in the same spot as the earlier shot! WOW!

  3. theaterwiz says:

    Very interesting stuff here Andy, great work

  4. What a chance encounter, Andy. To return to the same spot and see all of the earlier tell-tale markings is amazing. Good stuff!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Jimi – nothing short of extraordinary actually. You can see how the snow cover disguises a lot of the underlying terrain including the crevasses.

  5. I love the abstract quality of these especially in B&W. Very cool Andy.

  6. Yes, it’s the same stretch of glacier, no doubt. To encounter the same terrain and be able to capture the contrast between bare ice and snow-covered ice is pure serendipity! Fantastic eye you have. These images beg for a diptych! 🙂

  7. seekraz says:

    I’d have to agree with you, Andy…exact same spot…another wonderful find…and very observant of you, as well….

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Scott. I wasn’t even looking for that same spot when I peered over the edge, honest! Just thought I’s look for an image. What a surprise it was to see that exact same curve – just shows how slowly some glaciers move.

  8. seekraz says:

    You’re welcome…and such nice accidental finds like that….. Even with my nearby mountains, I don’t get to see any glacial “activity” here, just the aftermath of them having been here in the eons beyond…I’ve read that both of our Cottonwood Canyons, Little and Big, were formed by glaciers…and if you’ll remember my posts about Lake Blanche and the other Sister Lakes, there are even slide marks over many of the larger rocks proceeding downward from the lake areas….

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