Beautiful Deep Blue Ice
Annette and Jon were touring in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, Southern Patagonia when they found an amazing site.
Here's the story in their own words: "When viewing the terminal face of a glacier, typically you only see 10% of the glacier on the surface. Calving, a natural occurrence where the glacier loses ice from its' terminus, results in large free-floating chunks of ice. This particular ice had broken off from the glacier the evening before from underwater / lower portion of the glacier.
"Witnesses heard a cracking and a loud "boom," and then the ice surfaced. We understand ice this large breaks off from under the glacier approximately once a year and we were fortunate to be able to photograph it. The ice is a very deep blue as it is deprived of oxygen. Within 24 hours it will be white as the typical floating ice pieces."
Click on the pictures for larger view
What is this?
It's Blue Ice. According to Wikipedia:
"Blue ice happens when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed and then becomes part of a glacier that winds its way toward a body of water. During its travels, all of the air bubbles that are trapped in the ice are squeezed out, and the size of the ice crystals increases, making it clear."
The ice is blue for the same reason water is blue. Namely, it is a result of an overtone of a OH molecular stretch in the water which absorbs light at the red end of the visible spectrum.
More Blue Ice pictures:
Thanks so much Tony for the pictures! View more of his photos at his website.