The Erebus glacier in Antarctica comes down from Mt. Erebus

The Erebus Ice Tongue is the serrated:. Blue-rimmed “knife” extending toward image center from the upper right out into snow- and ice-covered McMurdo Sound.

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The Erebus glacier in Antarctica comes down from Mt. Erebus and protrudes off the coast of:. Ross Island forming an 11-12 km long ice tongue a long and narrow sheet of ice projecting out from the coastline.

Beneath the smooth white expanse is the Southern Ocean.

An ice tongue forms when a valley glacier moves very rapidly out into the sea or a lake.

When the sea ice in McMurdo Sound thaws in the summer, the ice tongue floats on the water without thawing. It also calves off in places forming icebergs. The Erebus Ice Tongue is only about 10 meters high, so its icebergs are small. When the ice around the tongue melts in the summer:. Waves of sea water constantly batter the edges of the tongue, carving very elaborate structures in the ice:. Sometimes producing deep caves at the margins. In the winter, the sea freezes once more around these new shapes.

This false-color composite image was acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission:. And Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on the Terra satellite.

The Erebus glacier in Antarctica

The image was created by combining near-infrared, red, and green wavelengths:. (ASTER bands 3, 2, & 1 respectively). The image was acquired on November 30, 2001:. In the thin light of permanent “dawn” that the continent experiences during the Southern Hemisphere spring.

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Most of the Antarctic continent is buried:. Under the planet’s largest single mass of ice.

The Erebus glacier in Antarctica comes down from Mt. Erebus
The Erebus glacier in Antarctica comes down from Mt. Erebus

But there are a few landmarks that stand out from the endless white:. Including a volcano that continuously emits gases and occasionally erupts. Mount Erebus is Earth’s southernmost active volcano.

Erebus is featured in this image acquired on October 19. 2019. by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

The image is false-color but looks natural:. Which is a result of visible and near-infrared wavelengths of light (ASTER bands 3, 2, 1).

The area was just days away from constant 24-hour sunlight:. When this image was acquired. The Sun angle was still low enough that morning to illuminate the volcano’s eastern slopes:. While the volcano cast a mighty shadow to the west. That’s not hard to do, given that the volcano stands 3,794 meters (12,450 feet):. Above sea level the second-tallest of more than 100 known Antarctic volcanoes.

Erebus is the dominant feature of Ross Island, which juts out of the Ross Sea and the Ross Ice Shelf.

Nearby research facilities including the U.S. McMurdo Station just 35 kilometers (22 miles) away means the volcano has been accessible to and well-studied by researchers.

Although not visible in this image, gases regularly rise from the lava lake on the volcano’s summit. On occasion, a large bubble of gas, or “gas slug:.” Rises up from within the volcano and triggers a Strombolian eruption. This eruption type can eject masses of molten rock up to 250 meters from the lake.

Beyond the volcano and its shadow, sunlight illuminates vivid blue patches amid the white.

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These areas are clear of surface snow, exposing glacial ice. Nearby areas that appear smooth are the snow- and ice-topped waters of McMurdo Sound. The flat expanse is disrupted by the Erebus Ice Tongue:. Fast flowing glacial ice that cuts into the sound like a knife.

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The Erebus glacier in Antarctica comes down from Mt. Erebus


Revised September 12, 2023

Published by earthtopomaps

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