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Kolka Glacier
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Kolka Glacier

September 12, 2004
On the evening of September 20, 2002, in a steep-walled basin high in the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia, chunks of rocks and hanging glacier came unglued from the slopes of the north face of Mt. Dzhimarai-Khokh and crashed down onto the Kolka Glacier. Kolka shattered under the impact, and out of the cirque (the basin) exploded a massive avalanche of ice, rock, water, and other debris, which plowed down the Genaldon River Valley at speeds of at least 180 kilometer per hour. The evidence of this devastating event was still visible from satellite a year and a half later. This image was captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite on April 9, 2004. The Genaldon River Valley (center) appears to have been lined in slate where the avalanche left an 18-kilometer (11-mile) trail of ice, rock, and pulverized stone along the slopes.


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