49 Glacier Facts That Explain Why Melting Glaciers May Cause Concern | Kidadl


49 Glacier Facts That Explain Why Melting Glaciers May Cause Concern

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Every travel buff wants to travel to the glaciers once in their lifetime. 

Glaciers are humongous blocks of ice. These structures form over a long period of time, centuries, and millennia.

Glaciers are formed due to constant low temperatures, long winters, and snowfall. In the Ice Age, the ice may have been over 9,842 ft (3,000 m) thick. The snow at the bottom keeps getting more pressure from the top layers of snow and hardens up, leading to the formation of glaciers. Read more about such interesting facts about glaciers; land ice melted, alpine glaciers, continental glaciers' cover, the largest glacier, and more.

Glacier Meaning With Example

Glacier ice is the largest source of the world's freshwater. More than three-quarters of the freshwater comes from these glaciers.

  • The cryosphere is one of the distinct parts of the Earth's different layers as scientists define them and contain ice, glaciers, and sea ice. 
  • This layer points out the places on Earth where the water remains in solid form or in solid condition for years and snow becomes ice.
  • The constant extreme pressure turns snow into ice as all the air bubbles slowly escape from the snow and become denser. This also changes the structure of ice crystals in the mass. 
  • A group of scientists recommends that blocks of ice and snow must be called a glacier when it is larger than a particular size and when their measure is 0.038 sq mi (0.1 sq km).
  • Glaciers cover 10% of the world's total land area despite containing three-fourths of the total water. They are not limited to the poles of the planet alone. They exist on every continent except Australia.  
  • The glaciers can be as huge as hundreds of miles, like the largest glacier, the Lambert Glacier, or smaller ones found on other continents.
  • Though they contain so much water and are huge, only 10% of the land area is covered with glacial ice. During the last-ever Ice Age, the glaciers covered more than one-third of the Earth's surface. 
  • The glacial ice on Earth's land includes glaciers, Antarctic ice sheets, ice sheets, and ice caps, according to the glacial features. Ice sheets exist in Greenland and Antarctica. According to another study, glaciers covered 32% of the land area at the peak of the Ice Age. 
  • There is so much existing ice and snow on the glaciers, though glaciers have lost 9 trillion ton (8 trillion met ton) of ice in the last century, that sea levels would rise dramatically if all the land ice melted.
  • A study about the most important facts about glaciers states that the sea levels may rise by the same height as a 30-story building. 

Characteristics Of Glaciers

One of the best facts about glaciers is that they continuously grow as snow falls and increase in size all the time and may become even hundreds of miles long. They are affected by snowfall and gravity alike.

  • They continue to float from the higher altitude at mountains to lower grounds. In that process, glaciers change the landscape through erosion, depositions, and weathering.
  • Their movement near the poles takes huge chunks of these blocks of glacier ice to the oceans, where they continue their journey slowly dissolving into the water.
  • The ice chunks also break due to the oceans' warmth and affect the water levels and environment to a great extent, as does the ocean current affect the marine glaciers.
  • The ice crystals change their structure under constant pressure. The air bubbles trapped between the snow particles slowly compress and disappear, and the glacier ice also changes its color and gets a bluish tint due to this reason.
  • Snow is usually white, while ice is transparent and colorless like water. But glaciers appear blue due to the denseness of ice crystals. In addition, snow and ice can absorb different wavelengths of light rays of the visible light spectrum, like red and yellow light. 
  • But due to their structure, they cannot absorb blue light rays. Instead, the ice crystals and glacial ice reflect this blue light, making them appear blue. 
  • We can say that glaciers act like light filters, absorb specific colors, and reflect others. Therefore, the denser the glacial ice is, the darker it will be, as it will absorb most colors.  
  • Interestingly they become less dense as they start to melt in the ocean water and reach sea levels, as seen in the tidewater glaciers. You can see such light-colored glaciers in Yosemite Valley. 
  • People are worried about the speed of melting glaciers. Just a few hundred years ago, people went through another Ice Age, during the 17th-19th centuries. Otherwise, the rest of the glaciers may be older, more than we can calculate easily.
  • For example, the ice sheets in the Antarctic area may be older than 30 million years. On the other hand, the ice sheets in Greenland may be newer and less than three million years old. 
  • One of the facts about glaciers is that they contain ice, but they also have particles embedded into them as they move. Some particles may be smaller, like sand particles and rock flour. All these big and small particles are embedded in the glacial ice blocks. 
  • When the glacier moves on the land due to gravity, these particles drag in with the moving glacier. For example, an alpine glacier moves down from the mountain into the valley and leaves marks as the particles are abrasive. 
  • The moving glacier may also leave debris along the ridges of the valley walls. These are called lateral moraines and constitute the material left behind by the soil and rock particles of the glaciers.
  • The glaciers coming down from very steep mountains may be very thin, even less than 50 ft (15.2 m). 
  • Another interesting question is whether the particles and ice crystals in a glacier move at the same speed as they are of different sizes and weights? The foundation of glaciers is denser and moves slowly.
  • Other parts of a glacier move according to their structures and embedded material. Studies say that the middle part of the glacier moves the fastest, and the bottom moves slower than all the other parts. 
Drift Ice at the early morning in shiretoko

Effect Of Global Warming On Glaciers

Freshwater is essential for sustaining life on the planet. One of the facts about glaciers is that they contain two-thirds of the freshwater in the world.

  • Ice sheets are layers of ice covering a huge expanse of Earth and extending continuously for a larger surface area. These caps of ice are smaller in size, but the sheets of ice may be as large as Greenland or even Antarctica. 
  • The last few decades have seen melting glaciers, and scientists are studying the relationship between this melting of snow and ice and the rise in sea levels on the Earth, especially Antarctica.
  • Only 10% of the land area on Earth has glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets, and this glacial ice is melting at an alarming rate. 
  • There are about 198,000-200,000 glaciers in the world that we know about. Only 10% of the Earth's surface or land has the world's 70% freshwater.
  • But if these glaciers melt, this water will enter the seas, and their levels will rise to alarming levels. If all of the ice melts, the resultant sea level may rise 230 ft (70 m). That may destroy many coastal cities as the level rises by 230 ft (70 m) to the height of tall buildings.  
  • The Antarctic ice sheet is easily one of the oldest on the planet and maybe older than 40 million years. The ice sheet is so huge that its melting may be catastrophic for the world and lead to rising sea levels. The effect of this glacier will not be limited to one area and will be seen globally. 
  • Smaller lakes and ponds like the kettle ponds form when a smaller price of glacier ice gets stuck in one place during the movement of glaciers. The ice melts slowly and leaves a small water body behind.  
  • Climate change critically affects the glaciers as they have been melting for the past decades. Researchers measure the Penny ice sheet cap to check the extent of melting due to climate change and their effect on the planet.  

List Of Famous Glaciers

There are two main types of glaciers. Alpine glaciers slide downward from mountaintops and slowly meander through valleys. Continental glaciers are large sheets and are stronger. They are powerful enough to flatten the path, including smaller mountains and hills.

  • Mountain valleys are usually steeper and shaped like a V, but the glaciers widen them with their weight and strong movements and may leave the shape slightly deeper than before. Glaciers flow and glide through large areas of land and spread the debris and ice collected over decades. 
  • The largest known glacier is the Lambert Glacier, which measures 270 mi (435 km) in length and 59 mi (96 km) in width and is located in Antarctica.
  • Bering Glacier in Alaska measures 118 mi (190 km) in length and is located in the US. Alaska has more than 100,000 big and small glaciers.
  • Glacier National Park is located in Montana, near the Canadian border.
  • Chile has some well-known glaciers, as South America has some 30,000 glaciers.
  • The terrain of the Torres del Paine National Park is one of the landmarks left behind by glacial movement.
  • Even Mount Kilimanjaro is glaciated, though people do not expect that due to its location near the equator.
  • The fastest glacial surge has been recorded in Pakistan, and the glacier is called the Kutiah Glacier. 
  • Another famous landmark in the southern Canadian Arctic is the largest ice mass called Penny Ice Cap. The eastern Arctic region has the largest glaciers in the Canadian region.
  • During the last-ever Ice Age, the famous Laurentide ice sheet covered a large area of the land in Canada. But the studies found that the Barnes ice cap on Baffin Island is the oldest glacier ice cap in the region. 
  • Another phenomenon is called tidewater glaciers. As we already know, glaciers keep floating and gliding through seas and landmasses. They ultimately reach the coast of an ocean-like any other flowing river body, and they are called the tidewater glaciers. 
  • Their front end or the leading edge reaches the water, and it may stop their journey if the entire sheet doesn't float into the water. Small chunks of ice and ice blocks keep breaking off from the tidewater glacier and float away. This process of calving glaciers from cliffs of ice continues for a long time. 
  • There are many interesting and unique facts about glaciers. For example, a single glacier ice crystal can become dense and large enough over the years and measure as large as a baseball.

<p>With a Bachelor's degree in commerce from the University of Calicut, Avinash is an accomplished artist, writer, and social worker. He has exhibited his paintings in galleries worldwide and his writing has been recognized for its creativity and clarity in various publications. Avinash's dedication to social justice and equality has led him to devote his time and resources to various causes that aim to improve the lives of those in need. Having gained valuable experience working with major corporations, Avinash has become a successful entrepreneur. When he is not busy pursuing his passion for art and social work, he spends his free time reading, farming, and indulging his love for automobiles and motorcycles.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?