"Snow kicks" in Chile
"Snow Penitents" in the Andes, opened by 26-year-old Charles Darwin. But then where they come from and how they are formed, scientists still cannot explain.
Their Spanish name "penitentes" means - "repentant sinners": sharp two-meter peaks from the snow actually look like hunched human figures in robes. They are found in large groups in the highlands of the Andes, in the midst of a completely dry slope. The largest Calgaspores with a height of six meters can be found in the Andes at an altitude above 4000 meters above sea level.
In 1835, the penitentes discovered and first described the 26-year-old Charles Darwin: the fourth year of his voyage on the Beagle frigate (by the way it should be noted the interesting fact that the theory of evolution was born as a result of this voyage), and Darwin ashore in Concepcion, started a monthly expedition to the Andes. Seeing the calgaspores, he decided that this was the result of the wind. The ranks of Calgaspor stretch from west to east - exactly in the direction in which the wind blows in the Andes.But in fact, they are oriented along parallels across the planet, and not just in the Andes.
According to another hypothesis, their form "penitentes" are obliged to a more exotic process. At night, moisture from the atmosphere precipitates like frost on icy peaks. But ice crystals electrify and line up along the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field.
Finally, there is a model where the only players are the sun and the air. At a height of several kilometers, the snow does not melt, but sublimates - that is, bypassing the liquid state, it immediately turns into steam, so calgaspores do not leave puddles around. Reflecting from the sides of such peaks, the sun's rays erode, evaporating, the neighboring ones, making them even sharper. But scientists still cannot predict what kind of snow will turn into “penitentes” and which will not.