These rather garish images are produced from satellite radar images of
glaciers and mountains. The color shows two things: Surface
topography and surface motion. The motion in particular is visible on
glaciers which flow like motor oil through their confining valleys.
Probably "motor oil" is not what comes to mind when you think of rivers
of ice, but the comparison is reasonably fair since ice under
sufficient stress behaves like a viscous fluid. The stress is provided
by gravity which is pulling the ice downhill. The way these glaciers
work is that the ice piles up for (let's suppose) a few hundred years
as snow falls down and sticks and eventually compresses under its own
weight. After a time as the ice layer gets very thick it begins to flow
downhill; the thicker it gets, the faster it flows. Also the steeper
the valley the faster the flow. Ultimately a glacier reaches a state of
equilibrium when it flows down the valley as fast as the clouds can
pile on new ice.
The following image includes glacier ice. The left-center third of the
first image is the terminal reach of Tazlina Glacier. The blue and
purple region at the top center is bare ground north of the terminus.
Finally the banded, scalloped regions at the left and right are
mountains that constrain the glacier on both sides.
These images are about 5 to 30 kilometers on a side. The pixels are
typically about 30 x 30 meters.
Place: These are three glaciers
located in the coastal mountain ranges of Alaska.
The following image is mostly ice. It is the Tana Glacier and a small
part of the Bagley Icefield. The dark pointy features folded over to
the left are mountains rising up out of the ice.
The image below is almost entirely ice except for a band of bare ground
at the bottom edge. At the bottom edge are also visible some lakes and
a small bit of the Pacific Ocean at the bottom-right. The ice itself is
part of Malaspina Glacier. It is moving very very slowly towards the
coast (at the bottom). However you'll notice there are many
color-features that look like little puddles of water. This is
not a coincidence; liquid water is responsible for the color-features,
but only indirectly.