Moraine lake Canada


Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 1,884 metres (6,181 ft). The lake has a surface area of 50 hectares (120 acres).
Moraine Lake

The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinctive shade of azure blue. The unique colour is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis by surrounding glaciers.

Powdered rock (rock flour) from glacial melt enters headwaters at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. (Taken in 1981 and digitized from Kodachrome original)
The canoe docks near the lodge at the north end of Moraine Lake in Alberta, Canada, 2015.

One of Banff National Park’s premier attractions, Moraine Lake draws people from around the world to a remote region of the Canadian Rockies. Glacially fed and lying at over 1,800 metres in elevation, the stillness of Moraine Lake reflects the giants above it in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. It’s an exceptionally spectacular portion of landscape in an area full of jaw-dropping vistas: With more than 6,000 square kilometres of wilderness to explore, Banff National Park offers a sort of greatest hits collection of Canada’s natural splendours. In our image, a stylised mix of black-and-white and colour, those canoes really stand out – and look just as vibrant against the true colours of the wilderness around them.

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park with floating woods
Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta Sunset
Moraine lake, Alberta, Canada, sunrise 2019 banff lake louise
Moraine Lake in early June 2018

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Moraine-dammed lake

The blue-green colour of the lake is due to glacial rock flour.

Rock flour, or glacial flour, consists of fine-grained, silt-sized particles of rock, generated by mechanical grinding of bedrock by glacial erosion or by artificial grinding to a similar size. Because the material is very small, it becomes suspended in meltwater making the water appear cloudy, which is sometimes known as glacial milk.

moraine-dammed lake occurs when the terminal moraine has prevented some meltwater from leaving the valley. Its most common shape is that of a long ribbon (ribbon lake). Example of moraine dammed lakes include:

In the 19th century the Argentine explorer Francisco Perito Moreno suggested that many Patagonian lakes draining to the Pacific were in fact part of the Atlantic basin but had been moraine dammed during the quaternary glaciations changing their outlets to the west. He argued that as originally belonging to the Atlantic basin these lakes should be awarded to Argentina. Most of the lakes situated in the Himalaya of Nepal and Bhutan are also of the moraine dammed type. They may burst at any time. That is why the areas below such lakes have high risk of flooding.