Glacial features of Athabasca

This week's post will describe and illustrate the unique characteristics and features of the Athabasca glacier. Some prominent features include crevasses, terminus, moraine and glacier caves. Although these are only a few of the possible features a glacier might host, they are what can be found on the Athabasca glacier.

Toe of the Athabasca Glacier & terminus moraine

Terminus - end of the glacier or the toe of the glacier

  • Toe - front of the glacier, where the effects of climate change are most obvious.
one adult leading two children over a glacial crevasse
crevasse

Crevasses - Ice cracks as it moves down the mountain valleys, these cracks are what is called crevasses.

lateral moraine

Moraines - “a mound, ridge or other distinct accumulation of glacial till”. Made up of the rock and sediment held frozen in the glacier, a moraine is formed when the ice melts and leave behind what is known as glacial till (aka sediment and rocks).

glacier cave

Glacier caves - carved from water running through or under the glaciers ice

ice falls

Ice falls - when a glacier flows over a steep drop

Rachael Thomas

Rachael is an Urban Planning and Sustainability student at Concordia and a concerned, sometimes anxious and curious global citizen with regards to climate change. Also a former visitor of the Athabasca glacier, the experience of leaving the walking tour left her both amazed and concerned with a sense of dread for the future of the glacier and the ecosystems it interacts with. Together with the generous funding of ECO Canada, the mentorship of Megan Lohmann and the power of a Concordia University library card, this series will explore what a glacier is, the role of the Athabasca glacier as a water source, how the glacier is impacted by climate change and what concerned climate citizens like you can do to mitigate the damage of climate change in our everyday lives.

Experience the Columbia Icefield on Foot!

Join us on a guided glacier hike on the Athabasca Glacier! Trips depart daily from late May to early October.

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