Named after peak-hooded New Mexican monks (lower right above),
penitentes are dazzling naturally-forming ice blades
that stick up at sharp angles toward the sun.|
Rarely found except at high altitudes,
they can grow up taller than a human and form in vast fields.
As ice melts in particular patterns,
'valleys' formed by initial melts leave 'mountains' in their wake.
Strangely, these formations ultimately slow the melting process
as the peaks cast shadows on the deeper surfaces below
and allow for winds to blow over the peaks, cooling them.
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