07 Jul '17, 2pm

A Stroke of Luck

Large powder avalanches can easily accelerate to 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour in a matter of seconds, and they do not usually last long. So it was a stroke of luck that on April 17, 1996, the Thematic Mapper (TM) on Landsat 5 happened to capture this false-color image of an avalanche barreling down a steep flank of Kanjut Sar , a peak in the Karakoram Range in northern Pakistan. The image combines infrared, red, and green wavelengths to make it easier to distinguish the avalanche. Snow appears red; bare rock or soil is cyan. Shadows are black. The source of the avalanche appears to be a slope at roughly 6,500 meters (21,000 feet) elevation. As the avalanche gathered force, snow swept into a valley and tumbled nearly 750 meters (2,500 feet) onto Khurdopin Glacier. Khurdopin has a prominent band of debris (a medial moraine ) that runs down its center. The moraine winds...

Full article: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=90528&...

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