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As the Athabasca Glacier ice melts, water runs off along the surface in little streams. Occasionally, it will drill into the ice with the aid of some fast-moving rocks and grit, and plunge down through the glacier until hitting another stream layer (or bedrock) below. The tubular holes are called glacier mills, or moulins. A few people fall into them accidentally, which is a death-sentence. Our glacier walk guide told us that in some places, well-prepared divers will go into mills on purpose to explore below the surface of millennia-old glaciers!
Staring Into the Abyss, Athabasca Glacier
Alberta Canada


As the Athabasca Glacier ice melts, water runs off along the surface in little streams. Occasionally, it will drill into the ice with the aid of some fast-moving rocks and grit, and plunge down through the glacier until hitting another stream layer (or bedrock) below. The tubular holes are called glacier mills, or moulins. A few people fall into them accidentally, which is a death-sentence. Our glacier walk guide told us that in some places, well-prepared divers will go into mills on purpose...
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© 2011 Royce Howland [contact]

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  • glacier
  • glacial
  • ice
  • icefield
  • icefall
  • water
  • melt
  • meltwater
  • glacier mill
  • moulin
  • crevasse
  • chute
  • hole
  • abyss
  • shadow
  • summer
  • Canadian Rockies
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Athabasca Glacier
  • Columbia Icefields
  • Jasper National Park
  • Alberta
  • Canada