Thursday, March 1, 2012

Floating Trees

A tree in the forest near my home
Years ago I read C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy since I had enjoyed his The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe series as a kid. The Space Trilogy books were too weird for me and I can’t remember if I finished all three. What does stick in my memory is one of the settings (on Venus I think, but I could be wrong). The main character ran across surreal floating islands coated in trees and surrounded by water. The movie ‘Avatar’ also brought us tree covered floating islands (this time floating in the air due to a ‘flux vortex’), but the strangest trees I’ve come across are floating on glaciers and they’re real.

A while back, I went to a talk by Hig about his trek with his wife, toddler and baby across Malaspina Glacier (find their blog here). They lived in the wild for two months. Clearly they are somewhat crazy - in a fantastic way, I wish more people took their kids into nature that way. From the video and photos clearly the kids had an awesome time.

Malaspina Glacier sits by the ocean on the southern reaches of Alaska reaching 600m thick in places and covering an area of 3,900 square km. Like many glaciers, this one is shrinking however the most striking feature to my mind is that in places trees grow on it. Trees growing on top of ice - how fabulous is that! Even assuming there is some sort of soil layer buffering the roots from the ice.

Are there other glaciers out there with trees growing on them?

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