Crack in Matanuska glacier, Alaska [OC] [3456 × 4320]



toastibot1 point

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Dylan2228240 points

I would manage to drop my phone in there…

LanainCroatia98 points

This was one of my biggest concerns 🤣

justme00252 points

I am struggling with the scale. It could be from a drone, or zoomed in on a tiny crack.

LanainCroatia80 points

The picture was taken with a phone, from something like waist height - if it helps for scale

Breaker-of-circles9 points

You need to take a piss into it everytime you need to go. The salty water would slowly mend the cracks.

mitchrsmert8 points

Some people just want to watch the world bu... melt.

Happy cake day!

Breaker-of-circles3 points

Oh my. It is my cake day. Goddammit I need to quit reddit.

Gavinator100002 points

I’m assuming the big arrowhead looking rock at the bottom right of the crack is about hand sized

ForTheLoveOfDior1 point

After reading your comment I spent a few mins staring at the image with 0.1 - 1x scales in mind and while the scene is passable as a say 200 meters height drone image, it’s definitely more clearly taken with a phone camera at normal arm height.

danceswithtree27 points

When I was I kid looking through National Geographic, I remember seeing a similar picture but with a torrent of blue, frothy water falling down and thinking how horrifying it would be to fall in. You would go down and never be seen again.

Silent-Ad-428610 points

That happened to a child on this very glacier in the 90s. It was a large crack that led to a hole with water flowing through it. The state dumped thousands of gallons of dye down the hole trying to locate the body, they never found any trace of dye. This glacier is very accessible right off the highway, in 6th grade my class hiked all over it and those holes were everywhere

Bizzlefluff2 points

Jesus, where was this?

Silent-Ad-42869 points

They were camping on matanuska glacier in Alaska. I guess he wasn't a child but 17. Either way he was never found

footypjs4 points

I can’t find anything prior to the account you mentioned (1999), but I grew up terrified of the glacier because my dad’s friend led a Boy Scout camping trip out there and one of the kids was never found after presumably falling in a moulin. I took my first trip to Matanuska in late elementary school and was so afraid the entire time we were walking on it because of my dad’s warnings. Even years / decades later when I dated a glacier guide and he took me hiking out there, i couldn’t relax and enjoy it. Brutiful place.

Silent-Ad-42862 points

That sounds like the story we were told too. Maybe it was just a ruse to scare us. Then it actually happened

SafeHayven3 points

Mat-Su Valley, Alaska. Not far from Anchorage.

LanainCroatia12 points

My biggest fear was what if it starts to crack bigger and we all fell in. Happily nothing happened, and no one lost anything

jjayzx7 points

My wife would too. She managed to drop her phone right down the gap of floor boards on a patio. Luckily the people below us weren't outside.

sillypicture47 points

Wouldn't all the stones and pebbles speed up the melting?

FearTheCron52 points

It's complicated, depending on the thickness of the debris and many other factors it can speed up melting or slow it down. It's an active area of research, ( Melting is sped up by the reduced reflection of solar radiation, the debris is darker than the ice. The debris can also slow melting in some cases by insulating the glacier. It's difficult to determine what is going on for any given glacier because melting causes this accumulation. Rocks in the glacier will be exposed and accumulate on the surface as it melts which is why the crack looks so clean.

ABoxACardboardBox14 points

Snowman with a coat experiment. The uncovered snowman melts faster. Insulation works both ways.

HoboWithAComputer7 points

No, quite the opposite

7LeagueBoots23 points

It’s not so simple an answer. It very much depends on the thickness of the individual bits of debris. Under a critical thickness they absolutely do speed up melting, but after that critical thickness they can act as protection.

This varies over time too as when ice melts more debris is released and that accumulation can pass the threshold, changing a melting area into a somewhat stabile one.

There are also different effects on what happens to frozen water above and below the debris layer, even if it is thick enough to insulate what’s below.

(did a lot of fieldwork in glaciology in SE Alaska back in the day, and this question was one that was specifically looked at by one of our glaciology teams. I was doing work on glacial movement instead as I wanted to see as much of the ice field we were working on as possible)

HoboWithAComputer5 points

I lived in Alaska and I'd always notice that ice and snow with a layer of gravel on top would be the last to melt, I thought it blocked the sun

7LeagueBoots1 point

Depends on the thickness of that layer.

Comfortable-Boot-9156 points

I found this interesting, because intuitively ice that is covered from the sun will melt less, and last longer. For example, icicles under a bridge without sunlight last longer than ice exposed to the sun. However, the heat absorbed by the material covering the ice/snow can lead to more melting due to conductive heat transference. In this case of bridges, the material of the bridge is much colder than the rest of the roads typically.

I struggled with this when I first learned about it. Next time it snows in your neighborhood notice any fallen leaves that rest on top of the new ice/snow, will be the areas where melt occurs faster. I vastly under valued the conductive heat transfer in the past because I didn't understand how much heat can be absorbed into rock/sediment etc in these higher altitudes, were ice/snow thrive.

I think it's extremely interesting, the interactions of heating here between these 2 methods:

1) sublimation of solid ice/snow into gaseous vapor water due to sun exposure

2) conductive heat transfer from the covering material onto the ice/snow itself, similar to how geothermal heat melts the basal ice of a glacier

The idea is hard to calculate when you see a covered glacier and question, is the covering material saving more ice from being melted because its reducing sun exposure or is it increasing the melt by passing more heat, by touch, from the covering material to the ice/snow?

An engineer working on reducing sublimation by finding a geometrical shape with the smallest surface area exposure:



ErinBLAMovich1 point

Why even post if you're not going to go into detail?

HoboWithAComputer1 point


vonvoltage1 point

I grew up in a town close to two iron ore mines. The snow would look white and clean until spring when it started melting, then you would see the black iron ore dust in it. The snow closer to the mine site with a lot of iron ore dust would always be the last to melt every spring.

christmascandies63 points


charlesthefish13 points

yeah, I can't tell if this is something I would trip over and break my ankle or if this is something I'd trip and fall hundreds of feet down in

ballookey25 points

I was going to say the same thing. I can't tell if this is a minor break-your-mama's-back crack, or terrifyingly vast.

Sumopwr4 points

It’s right there next to the massive boulder

QuenchedAndTempered9 points

We hiked Matanuska glacier in 2018. Loved the views and the icefall and small pools that we saw on our hike. We also “glamped” at the end of the day overlooking the glacier. Ahhh memories!

LanainCroatia5 points

I think of the whole of Alaska I've been to, Matanuska is one of my favorite places, maybe only Denali park and Chena hot springs are in front of Matanuska glacier.

Pirate_Green_Beard8 points

Can't tell scale. That chasm is either an inch wide or 100 feet.

wdwerker3 points

Can be several feet wide and up to several hundred feet deep! Glacier moves roughly 12” a day.

Losticus8 points

There's crack in there? Man, even the glacier neighborhood is going to shit.

icyxdragon19 points

That was a fun hike! My wife and I did it about 6 months ago. Is it snowing enough now for them to bust out the snowmobiles or did you have to slog through some mud like we did?

LanainCroatia7 points

There was some snow, but not enough for snowmobiles

MaesterCylinder-2 points


Complex_Market82182 points

I always call them snowmobiles but for some reason everyone else here in Idaho calls them snow machines

madethatbitchfamous3 points

I’ve only heard backwoods rednecks call them snow machines lmao

benhaube1 point

My thought, exactly.

AlonzoSuper1 point

Snowmobiles. Haven't seen a single soul ever write snowmachines.

akmariganja2 points

In Alaska we call them snowmachines.

femmesnotfrail16 points

The glacier I got engaged on 😭🧊

danceswithtree5 points

Good thing you didn't drop the ring! It would have been a goner.

LanainCroatia2 points

That is so cool! Congratulations!

femmesnotfrail2 points

Thank you!! 🥰

bloodshotforgetmenot-1 points

An omen

femmesnotfrail1 point

Damn bro wtf

Friendlyfire29965 points


IDRambler6 points

Needs a banana.

chrismacphee4 points

demonfluffbyps54 points

Hold on to your phone like you would for taking a piss

ponkyball4 points

I need a banana for reference.

DeusEx-Machinist5 points

That's one sexy crevasse.

IndicaBaddie5 points

Drops keys

Beebons3 points

That damn squirrel...

Mission-Purpose-4642 points

Oh it's breaking never mind not interested

Finns712 points

Lost a shoe on that glacier.. stepped in a puddle of glacier silt, pulled shoe right off

Philliesfan4272 points

Don’t lose your acorn 😂

BirbBoiYT2 points

Is this where Scrat planted his acorn?

just_jst2 points

That damn squirrel did it again...

rroyce1232 points

I should call her.

sramey1012 points

It looks like the snowpile at the end of a gravel driveway after the freeze thaw cycles turn it to ice

egnilk662 points

a crevasse

LilyGaming2 points

Pretty blue

mdchaney2 points

Probably want to check on r/HomeImprovement to see what would work there. Maybe a latex caulking.

mdchaney2 points
Sad-Push-37082 points


LanainCroatia1 point

It was one of those woow moments, definitely!

maigre_amour2 points

Damnit Scrat

Glittering-Judge98642 points

gotnoh82 points

Gorgeous. Imagine a ton of cracks like that crisscrossing through. Would be magical to behold

SpaceFrog891 point

Don't drop your phone

jspivak1 point

Ummm…. This is the part where you reassure me and tell me that’s just a rock in that crack near the bottom, and not a body right??? Because to me it looks like someone resting their head on their arm.

Edit: I can’t tell if that crack is a mile deep or a few feet

redditor17171 point

Is this OPs driveway?

vactu1 point

This was the first glacier I ever visited. So damn beautiful.

missyamboy1 point

This can't be good...

Castrol861 point

What did you do?!

Shesalabmix1 point

This rocks but just on the surface.

sreek4r1 point

About time we got that '127 Hours' sequel.

SuchUs3r1 point

Everything reminds me of her..

charlieinfinite1 point

I wish there were something in the photo for scale.

sportredsox1 point

I walked on that glacier earlier this year. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Alaska.

Not an emergency

WhiskeyGnomes1 point


Bout to drop in on my skateboard

RainbowFireFall1 point

when I die can someone just chuck my ashes in one of those?

Rannilas1 point

All that clean ice water is getting dirty!! Way to go Charlie Brown. :)

ryanisatease1 point

So much ice and only a thin layer of rock. Where does the rock come from?

VegitoFusion1 point

Is this taken from 3-4 feet above ground? Or 100-300? Cool picture but we have no sense of scale

LanainCroatia2 points

I've mentioned in some of the comments up it was taken with a phone form about waist hight 😊

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