Malaspina Glacier in southeastern Alaska is considered the classic example of a piedmont glacier. Piedmont glaciers occur where valley glaciers exit a mountain range onto broad lowlands, are no longer laterally confined, and spread to become wide lobes.
This perspective view was created from a Landsat satellite image and an elevation model generated by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Landsat views both visible and infrared light, which have been combined here into a color composite that generally shows glacial ice in light blue, snow in white, vegetation in green, bare rock in grays and tans, and the ocean (foreground) in dark blue. The back (northern) edge of the data set forms a false horizon that meets a false sky.
Glaciers erode rocks, carry them down slope, and deposit them at the edge of the melting ice, typically in elongated piles called moraines. The moraine patterns at Malaspina Glacier are quite spectacular in that they have huge contortions that result from the glacier crinkling as it gets pushed from behind by the faster-moving valley glaciers. (image and text courtesy NASA)
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