Nunatak in Victoria Land, Antarctica – December 29th, 2008
Here we can see the region of Antartica known as Victoria Land, bounded on the east by the Ross Sea and on the west by Wilkes Land.
The region includes ranges of the Transantarctic Mountains and the McMurdo Dry Valleys.
The part of the image not covered by ice may be the Icefall Nunatak, a prominent ice-free nunatak, 1,760 m, lying close south of the main flow of Skelton Icefalls.
A nunatak is an exposed, often rocky element of a ridge, mountain, or peak not covered with ice or snow within (or at the edge of) an ice field or glacier.
The term is typically used in areas where a permanent ice sheet is present. Nunataks present readily identifiable landmark reference points in glaciers or ice caps and are often named.
Lifeforms on nunataks are frequently isolated by the surrounding ice or glacier creating unique habitats.
Nunataks are generally angular and jagged because of freeze-thaw weathering, and can be seen to contrast strongly with the softer contours of the glacially eroded land below if the glacier retreats.