Imaggeo On Monday: Desert Varnish, Antarctica Style

Imaggeo On Monday: Desert Varnish, Antarctica Style

This photograph highlights the oxidized surface of diorite boulders, which fall from the ice at the base of the Mullins Glacier in Beacon Valley, Antarctica when the ice moves directly from a solid state into a gas state, without becoming a liquid in between (a process called sublimation). The particular features (morphology) of the varnish and the desert pavement of this unique environment are remarkably similar to the classic desert pavements of the hot deserts of the world, which suggests that despite the extreme differences in climate that the processes at work in this desert are the same. A desert is a desert, perhaps.


Description by Martha Cary Eppes, after the description on


Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at

This guest post was contributed by a scientist, student or a professional in the Earth, planetary or space sciences. The EGU blogs welcome guest contributions, so if you've got a great idea for a post or fancy trying your hand at science communication, please contact the blog editor or the EGU Communications Officer to pitch your idea.

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