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.

asked by Midsummer in Articles | 134089 views | 01-21-2008 at 06:57 PM

I never even knew that thing existed, it's fantastic.

answered by cohen | 01-21-2008 at 08:52 PM

Wow, really impressive and I'm jealous of the people who can afford visiting such a wonderful place.

answered by ezequiel | 01-22-2008 at 02:16 AM

Oh my god. This is beyond my imagination. How come I never happen to come across this kind of phenomenon on Discovery and National Geographic?

answered by cheenuray | 01-22-2008 at 04:32 AM

Man this is something anyone would like to watch at least once in a lifetime and cherish it for the rest of his life

answered by nirmalabhi | 01-22-2008 at 06:26 AM

Oh this is really cool, really awesome.
No words to express, so cool.

answered by meghna | 01-22-2008 at 09:52 AM

That place is wonderful, the earth never ceases to amaze me with its hidden wonders.
I'm going to be there someday.

answered by max | 01-22-2008 at 02:05 PM

I liked the second picture a lot, it's magic. I'm impressed by all the pictures by the way.

answered by monster_ | 01-22-2008 at 02:09 PM

Stumbled here, awesome post and site
I will come back often to check updates.

answered by frank | 10-16-2009 at 02:37 AM

It's just amazing, this planet has so many beautiful locations.. that is definitely one of them.

answered by alfarrell | 08-29-2010 at 05:41 PM

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