Glaciers: Earth's Moving Ice

Glaciers: Earth's Moving Ice
Glaciers: Earth's Moving Ice
Glaciers are massive, persistent bodies of dense ice that form over centuries. They're constantly on the move, driven by their own weight and gravity, shaping the landscape beneath them.
Formation: Snow to Ice
Formation: Snow to Ice
Glacier formation begins with snow accumulation. Over time, buried snow layers compact under their own weight, transforming into firn and eventually crystallizing into solid ice through a process called sintering.
Types of Glaciers
Types of Glaciers
There are two main glacier types: alpine glaciers, found in mountainous regions, and continental glaciers, covering vast areas like Antarctica and Greenland. Each type moves and interacts with its environment differently.
Crevasses and Icefalls
Crevasses and Icefalls
Crevasses, deep cracks in glacier surfaces, occur when glaciers move over uneven terrain. Icefalls, akin to frozen waterfalls, form where glaciers cascade down steep inclines. Both are hazardous for explorers.
Surging Glaciers
Surging Glaciers
Some glaciers experience dramatic, irregular movements known as surges. During these, glaciers can advance rapidly, moving up to 100 times their normal speed. The cause of surging remains not fully understood.
Glacial Erosion Power
Glacial Erosion Power
Glaciers are potent erosive forces. As they slide, they scour the landscape, creating U-shaped valleys, fjords, and other geological features. Their movement grinds rocks into glacial flour, which colors rivers milky white.
Climate Change Impacts
Climate Change Impacts
Global warming significantly affects glaciers, causing accelerated melting and retreat. This contributes to rising sea levels and altered freshwater supplies. Studying glaciers helps predict future climate scenarios and informs conservation efforts.
Learn.xyz Mascot
What shapes the landscape beneath glaciers?
Glaciers' weight and gravity
Glacier surges only
Seasonal snowfall variations