rock flour

Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Kayakers paddle the turquoise surface of Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, in this view captured from the Big Beehive hiking trail. Located within Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, the lake’s striking color comes from sunlight reflecting off the rock flour suspended in its waters, seen here deposited with the flow of glacial meltwater.

Photograph by Yohan Dumortier, National Geographic Your Shot


I’ve been wanting to say this for a while, get ready for a nerd rant about glaciology…

The ice in httyd2 is so well done. You see it’s not just any old ice. Its glacial Ice. Its not just frozen water, like the delicate, transparent ice you seen in disney’s frozen for example. Its actually snow thats compacted so much that it’s turned rock hard.  that’s why it’s not clear, its more translucent. Also, the ice is strong enough to crush rock into a power called rock flour. That also gives it a blue white, translucent look. You see, if you where to dig deep into a glacier, the ice actually takes on an odd, ripply ‘plastic’ quality because it’s under so much pressure. Nothing like the straight edges you see in normal ice. You can see this very clearly in the ice in httyd2. 

It’s just, If normal ice would to be used as a weapon of mass destruction, it wouldn’t really work because it’s not that strong. if it hit rock or wood, it would just shatter. Nor would it be a good building material because it would crack. But glacial ice, this is the stuff that carves out the landscape. It eats mountains for breakfast. It’s just the kind of thing I could imagine a great dragon spewing out. I love the detail in this movie. Dreamworks could have done any old ice breathing dragon. It just impresses me that they really did their homework.


The intense milky-turquoise colours emitting from Lake Tekapo is breathtaking. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, the glacial waters within the coloured lake are once in a lifetime. The area was used by Maori for centuries, and the European settlers only discovered the basin in the mid 1800s. The glacial meltwater carriers ‘rock flour’, ground off the mountains by the moving ice. The rock flour is held in suspension by the lake waters, giving them opacity as well as their pale colour. For such a unique attraction, it is not overrun with tourists, but if you wish to find more space of your own, head further south to Lake Pukaki.