ISS057-E-106614

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Spacecraft nadir point: 41.0° N, 80.0° E

Photo center point: 35.2° N, 81.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: South

Spacecraft Altitude: 214 nautical miles (396km)
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Image Caption: Glaciers and Gozha Co

An astronaut on the International Space Station took this oblique photograph of glaciers in the Kunlun Mountains of Central Asia. South of the glaciers lies the partially frozen Gozha Co, one of hundreds of lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. (Note that the astronaut was looking south, so north is on the bottom of this image.)

Long glaciers extend down from the mountain peaks into the valleys, with several ending in rounded or lobe-shaped tongues. The bulbous shape is due to the spreading of ice over a flatter landscape. These glaciers feed melt water into nearby Gozha Co. (Co means lake in the Tibetan language.) Just beyond the glacier tongues, moraine deposits trace out former ice edges.

The Gozha Co basin originated from tectonic activity that formed several east-west trending basins in the region. It later filled with melt water flowing in from the surrounding glaciers and from seasonal snow.

Lakes on the Tibetan Plateau start to freeze between October and December and some stay solid until May. This photo was taken at the beginning of the winter freeze-up, and ice layers on the east (left) side of the lake show different stages of freezing. About two weeks before this photo was shot, ice was absent from the lake. By mid-December, Gohza Co was completely frozen.