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Glacial Lakes Near Southern Alps, New Zealand – December 10th, 2011

44S 170.1E

December 10th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

New Zealand - November 25th, 2011

Three roughly parallel alpine glacial lakes in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand’s South Island appear bright hues of blue and green in this image (from left to right): Lake Oahu, Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo.

All three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes. The glacial feed to the lakes gives them a distinctive blue colour, created by glacial flour, the extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers.

Lake Oahu is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps. It is the smallest of the three, with a surface area of 60 km².

Lake Pukaki is the largest of the three, covering an area of 178.7 km². The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Tasman River, which has its source in the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers, close to Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Lake Tekapo is the second-largest, covering an area of 83 km2. The lake is fed at its northern end by the braided Godley River, which has its source in the Southern Alps to the north.

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