NZICESCAPES IMAGES

Ice Age and Franz Josef Glacier

A terminal moraine (foreground) left by retreating Franz Josef Glacier around 14.000 years ago.

If the current average temperature were just 4° C lower, we would be living in an ice age. During the last, 18, 000 years ago, Franz Josef Glacier stretched its tongue some 10km beyond the present coast line. In this period the sea level was around 100m lower than today, as an immense amount of water was locked up in the glaciers all around the world. On the West Coast there were not many visible mountain valleys as the majority were filled with ice. The western side of the Alps was literally one massive white sheet of ice with rock ridges sticking out, and stretched from the alpine tops all the way to the sea. The life of the glacier is represented by its repeating advance and retreat leaving traces in forms of terminal and lateral moraines. These moraines are particularly visible from the air and some of them can even be observed from the ground.

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