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Franz Joseph Glacier

Thursday, 7 June 2007 : Filed under: West Coast E-Mail This Article

Franz Joseph Glacier
Terminal face of Franz Joseph Glacier – Franz Joseph Glacier, New Zealand


Comment by josh — June 7, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

About two hours south of Greymouth, we stopped for a bit of a walk to see one of the two accessible glaciers in this part of the country, Franz Joseph Glacier. The next day we would do an all day hike on the other, Fox Glacier, but that will be another post.

Franz Joseph Glacier is unique in that it is in a temperate climate, in a rain forest, located just 200 some meters above sea level.

I wanted to get a closer look, but Beth wouldn’t let me. She was worried after seeing this sign:

Comment by jeremi clark — June 8, 2007 @ 4:05 am

Those signs are REALLY funny. Why is the guy running towards the rock and glacier if ice and rock are falling? I don’t blame Bethany though, I wouldn’t want anything from those pictures to happen to either one of you.

Comment by dad — June 8, 2007 @ 4:54 am

Great signs! Probably a good idea to pay attention. Do you have a close up of the red/pink rocks in the other pic? They look really cool. Great picture overall! So how is there a glacier in a rain forest 200m above sea level in a temperate climate? I don’t quite get it.

Comment by josh — June 8, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

Haha I’m not sure why the guy was running towards the rocks. I think that he is unaware and just running around lackadaisically, and then got pounded by the falling rocks. That is my best guess.

Here is a photo of more red rocks. I think it was the same fungus/lichen that was on the grave stone I posted a while back. They were cool looking:

Comment by josh — June 8, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

As for why the glacier is in a temperate climate… I guess it starts way up in the mountains, where it snows. This area there is a TON of precipitation. They said it rains about 180 days a year something like 10m of rain per year and in the mountains about 45m of snow per year. All the snow compacts on itself and forms glacial ice, and then moves down the mountain like a river of ice.

Comment by dad — June 9, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

ok. that makes sense now. Thanks for the explanation. how high are the mountains? Thanks for the picture of the rocks!

Comment by josh — June 9, 2007 @ 4:56 pm

The mountains are the Southern Alps. I’m not sure exactly how high they are right by the glacier, but the highest point is Mt. Cook which is 3700m+. The high peaks are all 3000m+.

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