Today I took the time to explore the base of the glacier and the surrounding area, there is no real rush to get things done now as all that is left to do for the researchers is to perform the pump tests as soon as the ice completely oozes over the instruments. In about a week Pete, Knut and Ben will hike back up the glacier and go back into the tunnel for a few days. There they will take a pressure washer and pump water under the glacier. The water hopefully will spread out under the ice rather than leak back through a crack. If they are successful this will cause the glacier to slide just a small amount. Knut has accelerometers installed around the glacier and under it so he will be able to monitor any slippage. By that time I will fly back home. So now I am just trying to learn more about the area. I took a walk to the base of the glacier and just looked around a bit, it was really more of a day off.
Near the base of the glacier are many small streams of melt water cascading down the rocks.
A small avalanche broke this bench along the path leading to the glacier tongue, there are very steep inclines that funnel snow down the chutes. You can hear the avalanches in the distance high up in the hills, they are like sonic booms.
A small avalanche caused these trees to bust as the snow plowed down the hill. Since sound travels slowly, by the time you hear the avalanche in the distance you will likely not be able to spot it with your eyes.
Posted along the path are signs warning you of dangers. Here the sign warns that the tunnel system may divert water unexpectedly causing sudden flash floods. Statkraft is the power utility company in Norway.
The striations on the exposed bedrock are subtle but apparent. Here my hand is on the smooth rock, you can see some crystalline bands folded into the rock, the striations are small scrape marks perpendicular to this. The glacier was here about one hundred years ago, sliding across this area.
It is the end of Spring and there are flowers popping up in all the cracks amongst the rocks.
The melt water meets the glacier lake here. I am told there are fish in the lake but I have not seen any.
It is fun to hike at the base of the glacier because the rocks are perfect to climb on, it is really like a giant playground as long as there is no ice.
A long time ago someone painted arrows on the rocks to point you to the direction of the glacier tongue. I just follow the path to see where it goes.
Well, the path only goes so far, and still no glacier tongue. This sign was painted here when the glacier actually made it this far. It is dangerous to be next to the tongue because the ice is falling off all the time.
I really wish I had majored in geology in college. I have no clue how this formation was created. I hope some students consider a major in geophysics. The rock formations here are really amazing.
It is not far off to the glacier tongue, but I think I will just come back tomorrow and touch the ice then. There is a very steep canyon on the south side where it is calving into, not sure if you can approach it from the other side so I will ask someone who has gone that route.
The sheep all have bells so you can hear them from a distance. They are very skittish and do not allow you to get close. I think it is my turn to make dinner so time to get back.