Posted by: tsubakuro | May 16, 2012

Satellite Images of Glacial Cirques in the Japan Alps

As part three of my posts about the Japan Alps on Google Earth I planned to add imagess from the North/Kita Alps showing glacial cirques that were created during the last Ice Age.


In this image of Kurobegorodake (黒部五郎岳) in the western region of the Kita Alps, the mountain peak is just left of centre. From the peak and extending toward the centre of the frame is the remarkable cirque for which this mountain is famous.


This view of Tateyama (立山) has the spine of the mountain running in a top/bottom orientation through the centre of the image. On the right side of the ridge there are three very distinct cirques. A fourth one is just to the south, between Tateyama’s Oyama peak and Jododake. The west side of the mountain was also a bed for a great glacier and the alpine route – the winding black line – sits in the valley that the glacier was carving out. Snow fills a hanging valley that descends toward the Kurobe Dam in the bottom right.


Resembling Tateyama, Yakushidake (薬師岳) also bears three distinct cirques, along with other local evidence of glacial scouring on the west side.

Yari/Hotaka Range

Possibly the most famous of the glacial parks in the Japan Alps, the Yari/Hotaka Range is rife with glacial features. The matterhorn of Yarigatake looks a little pinkish in this image and is near the top centre. Glacial valleys can be seen descending from either side of the peak. The one on the right is Yarisawa – possibly the best example of a glacial valley in Japan, it is said. Two minor cirques appear heading south of Yari and on the east side of the ridge. The last two big cirques are below the Daikiretto col and the largest cirque in Japan – the Karasawa Cirque, which appears as a very prominent depression below the peak of Hotakadake, the main mountain massif in the lower part of the image.

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