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Glacial Dust Over Gulf of Alaska

Alaska's glaciers grind rock into fine powder. Suspend that powder in meltwater and you get the bright aquamarine colored water seen along the coast; loft it on the wind and you get tan plumes of dust that hide the water below. (The largest dust plume in the above image is carrying glacial dust southward from the dry portions of the Copper River valley just east of Prince William Sound.) Both methods of transport bring iron to the Gulf of Alaska in a seasonal and spatially variable way where it supports the growth of phytoplankton.

The above Aqua/MODIS image was collected on November 15, 2017. Click on it for a larger version.


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