This is a glorious NASA image from The Earth Observatory. The Himalayan Mountains in Southern China on Christmas Day, 2009. If you’d like a large version, you can soak in 4Mb of detail. I’ve posted it just because it’s captivating and we are so fortunate (for all NASA’s failings) that we can marvel at a view like this.
Note the scale (bottom right). These are rivers of ice one kilometer wide “unnamed”. Imagine what it would take to melt this ice?
In southern China, just north of the border with Nepal, one unnamed Himalayan glacier flows from southwest to northeast, creeping down a valley to terminate in a glacial lake.
Mountains on either side of the glacier cast long shadows to the north. From a bowl-shaped cirque, the glacier flows downhill. Where the ice passes over especially steep terrain, ripple marks on the glacier surface indicate the icefall. Northeast of the icefall, the glacier’s surface is mostly smooth for several kilometers until a network of crevasses mark the surface.
At the end of the glacier’s deeply crevassed snout sits a glacial lake, coated with ice in this wintertime picture. Just as nearby mountains cast shadows to the north, the crevassed glacier casts a shadow onto the lake’s icy surface. This glacial lake is bound by the glacier snout on one end, and a moraine—a mound formed by the accumulation of sediments and rocks moved by the glacier—on the other.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Michon Scott based on image interpretation by Bruce Raup, National Snow and Ice Data Center.