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- Vadret da Tschierva
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Proglacial area 2009
Vadret da Tschierva is a short valley glacier at the head of the beautiful Val Roseg near Pontresina in the Engadin, and shares the same massive peaks of Piz Bernina and Piz Morteratsch as Vadret da Morteratsch. The main features of the glacier are a huge icefall and a large rockfall dating from 1988. Unlike its neighbour, Vadret da Morteratsch, the glacier advanced some 240 m between 1967 and 1987, creating a new moraine superimposed on the old Little Ice Age moraines. Since then, up until 2009, the glacier has receded c. 700 m. Since there is no good path to the glacier snout, the visitor has to cross tiring, ankle-breaking boulder fields. The glacier snout is straightforward walking, although steep. A wire bridge aids access from the west side of Val Roseg.
At the end of the forest road, near Hotel Roseggletscher, we obtain a clear view of the braided river plain of Vadret da Tschierva. A large post-glacial alluvial fan is on the left.
The peaks of Piz Bernina and Piz Morteratsch provide a backdrop to the Little Ice Age moraines of Vadret da Tschierva in the foreground, September, 2009.
Large schist erratic split by frost along the foliation inside the little Ice Age limit of Vadret da Tschierva.
Hummocky moraine from wastage of stagnant ice within the the little Ice Age limit of Vadret da Tschierva.
Colonisation of the sandy gravel soils inside the Little Ice Age limit is a slow process in Val Roseg, these pines and larches being the earliest trees to grow.
Looking down Val Roseg from the left-lateral moraine of Vadret da Tschierva, illustrating the irregular moraine topography and braided river beyond.
The sandy boulder ridges of Vadret da Tschiervaís Little Ice Age moraines with Piz Bernina in the background. Note the subsidiary moraine on the right; this represents the limit of the 1967-1987 advance.
V-shaped notch in the true right-lateral moraine of Vadret da Tschierva is cut by the outflow from Lej Vadret whose waters are fed by Vadret da Roseg.
A wire bridge is used to cross the river from Vadret da Tschierva. The metal A-frame is used as a seat and a pulley system enables the occupant to haul him/herself across.
Hauling across the wire bridge in mid-channel.
The area inside the Little Ice Age moraines is mainly a boulder field and contains little vegetation, although here we see a young larch gaining a foothold, September 2009.
A party of Aberystwyth University students surveys the Little Ice Age moraines and its 1990s counterpart.
Evidence of substantial earlier vegetation, in this case prior to the Little Ice Age, comes in the form of the odd partly buried log, felled by the glacier. This example has been sampled for analysis, but we donít know by whom.
Close to the September 2009 snout, inside the 1987 moraine, extensive areas of striated granite and gneiss bedrock are exposed, illustrative of strong glacial abrasion.
Meltstream emerging from the snout of Vadret da Tschierva, September 2009.
Large blocks of gneiss bedrock displaced by ice following freeze-thaw and fracture along joints just below the glacier snout.
|Photos Michael Hambrey|