Natural Ice Spikes High Amidst the Andes

Geo Beats
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View the beautiful Penitentes ice spikes amidst the Andes.

Mother Nature has created some bizarre, yet beautiful sights. One such spectacle is the Penitentes, which are naturally formed, spiky ice and snow formations.

They give the appearance of a white forest and resemble rough blades.

The formations vary in size from just a few inches tall to up to 17 feet high.

The fields of white blades reside in a section of the Andes in between Argentina and Chile which is more than 13,000 feet above the sea level.

These formations usually develop in groups or clusters.

Charles Darwin first described the Penitentes in the 1800s following one of his travel ventures.

According to him, the locals thought the ice spikes formed due to the strong winds in the area.

However, recent studies suggest that blades are actually formed when the sun’s rays transform snow into water vapor prior to melting it.
The process is called sublimation. Deep depressions are formed into the snow, which leave high points in the surface, giving the appearance of tall blades or spikes.

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