A dustwell is a glacial feature caused by patches of dust, dirt, and small stones deposited on the surface of the ice. Because these darker materials have a lower albedo, or reflectivity, than the surrounding ice and snow, they absorb more solar radiation and create small pockets of increased temperature. The ice around these pockets melts more rapidly than the surrounding area, and this differential melting results in holes, bowls, and pits in the glacier’s surface.

Charles Frazier