Scenic Wonders - Glaciers

The awesome activity of the huge glaciers of the Pleistocene ice ages has shaped much of the face of New Zealand's South Island over the past two million years. Since that era ended around 14,000 years ago, glaciers have fluctuated at near their present sizes. The 3,150 inventoried glaciers in New Zealand range from many at one hectare in size to the majestic Tasman Glacier which is 9,634 hectares in area and 28.5 kilometres in length.

Issue information

Glaciers are formed high up in the mountains where the summer melt is unable to remove all of the winter snow. A surplus of snow accumulates each year, and it is this snow which feeds the glaciers.

The snow is transformed into ice and flows slowly down the mountain into the warmer temperatures of lower altitudes where it melts away. Like the hour hand of a clock, the movement of the ice down the mountain is too slow to be seen. But it can move between several centimetres a day to several metres a day in fast flowing, steep glacier trunks. Debris falling from the mountainside is carried on and within the glacier and further debris is collected at the glacier base by the moving ice. The debris forms an abrasive layer which gradually wears and gouges the bedrock into smooth, glaciated forms.

Glaciers behave as huge but very sensitive climate indicators. While the glacier ice continually flows downwards, the position of the glacier front in the valley changes with the altering climate. In cooler, snowy climates the glacier front advances down the valley and when the climate is warm and dry the glacier front retreats.

Product lising for Scenic Wonders - Glaciers

Click on image to enlarge.

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 45c 'Glacier Ice' gummed stamp.

Ice of the Franz Josef Glacier fractures as it moves over its steep rough bed, forming these spectacular frozen pinnacles called 'seracs'. Melting of the ice has revealed internal ice structures which were formed deep within the glacier.

 

$0.45
Single Stamp

Single 50c 'Tasman Glacier' gummed stamp.

The Tasman Glacier, in the Mount Cook National Park, is the largest glacier in New Zealand. Measuring a mammoth 28.5 kilometres long, the Tasman is extensive even by world standards. Numerous basins of accumulated snow feed a single trunk of unusually thick ice which is hundreds of metres deep. In December 1991 a massive rock avalanche crashed 2720m from the summit of Mount Cook on to the glacier below, adding to the massive load of rubble carried by this glacier.

$0.50
Single Stamp

Single 80c 'Snowball Glacier' gummed stamp.

The Snowball Glacier is a collective name for a group of glaciers. The glacier shown on the 80c stamp is one of two glaciers tongues which drain a large ice field named the Marion Plateau. Because of the low relief of the surrounding ridges there is very little rock debris and the glacier cuts a striking path of clean ice through smoothed bedrock.

$0.80
Single Stamp

Single $1.00 'Brewster Glacier' gummed stamp.

The Brewster Glacier, situated on Mount Brewster, is 2.75 kilometres long with a gentle gradient and crevasse-free surface. It is one of the few glaciers situated near a State Highway but it is seldom noticed by travellers. Only the tip of the glacier's snout is visible from the road at the brink of a precipice high above Haast Pass.

$1.00
Single Stamp

Single $1.50 'Fox Glacier' gummed stamp.

A broad, high block of land provides plenty of snow accumulation areas to feed New Zealand's famed Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. The glaciers are very similar in both shape and size and are renowned for the low altitudes to which the ice descends within the forest zone. Huge volumes of ice spill through steep, narrow valleys well below the upper forest limits. The spectacular terrain coupled with the low altitude of the glacier fronts makes for magnificent views. Both the glaciers can be reached after just a short walk.

$1.50
Single Stamp

Single $1.80 'Franz Josef Glacier' gummed stamp.

A broad, high block of land provides plenty of snow accumulation areas to feed New Zealand's famed Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. The glaciers are very similar in both shape and size and are renowned for the low altitudes to which the ice descends within the forest zone. Huge volumes of ice spill through steep, narrow valleys well below the upper forest limits. The spectacular terrain coupled with the low altitude of the glacier fronts makes for magnificent views. Both the glaciers can be reached after just a short walk.

$1.80
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $6.30
Presentation Pack Presentation pack containing a selection of stamp products from the issue and further information on the theme of the stamps. $7.90

Technical information

Date of issue: 12 June 1992
Designers: Alan Hollows, Wellington, NZ
Printer: Southern Colour Print, New Zealand
Stamp size: 40mm x 28mm
Sheet size: 100 stamps per sheet
Process: Lithography
Perforation gauge: 13.5
Paper type: Peterborough Paper Convertors, red phosphor coated, unwatermarked
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 12 June 1993.