Glaciers are wonderful creations of nature. These ice giants are very important to the world. We wanted to do an understandable publication about glaciers. This article will give you a basic understanding of glaciers with interesting facts about them. Your further studies about the topic will be easier with the information we give you here.
Glaciers are flowing
Glaciers are different from snowfields or icebergs for the fact that glaciers can move under their weight. Imagine a very slow river. Just like that sheer mass forces glaciers to move. This fact about glaciers is used as a standard to describe what a glacier is.
Another fact in facts about glaciers is that a glacier with a higher mass can change the shape of the landscape drastically by flowing. Some scientists analyze scraped surfaces and find former glaciers. Some glaciers move very slowly that you can not see even if you watch the whole day. But some glaciers flow a bit fast up to a meter (3.26ft) in a day. Try to observe the movement of a glacier if you visit one someday.
Glaciers occupy a big chunk of the total land area
The world’s total land area is 29% of the world’s total area. Facts show about 10% of that is glaciers. Glaciers cover both land and ocean. Most glaciers are placed in the Antarctic and Arctic regions. Most glaciers are incapable of human habitation. But micro-scale lives like rock-eating microbe habitat the area. However, these areas are shrinking because the temperature increases due to global warming.
Glaciers covered much of the world during the last ice age
Huge glaciers covered much of North America back in the last ice age. When the earth warms up, they start to melt away, but they are in some places the temperature is still low. So, we can think of today’s glaciers formed in the last ice age.
Where did the ice-melted water go? Depending on where the glacier located water can be either went to the ocean and increased the sea level or made a tarn (a mountain lake).
Glaciers come in different sizes
According to USGS, a body of ice must have 0.1 km2 (25 acres) to be classified as a glacier. Lambert Glacier, the largest glacier in the world is about 50 miles wide, over 250 miles long, and about 2,500 m deep. It is in East Antarctica. Ice sheets are bigger glaciers than 50,000 km2 (19,000 square miles).
Glaciers contain fresh water more than any other source
A very interesting fact is that glaciers contain most of the fresh water in the world. 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. 97% of all water in the world belongs to oceans. Rest is freshwater. Glaciers, snowfields, and polar ice caps together contain 80% of the world’s freshwater.
It seems like most of the freshwater is not available to use. But in some areas, people could use glaciers as a source of water.
There are three types of glaciers
- Ice sheets: – Extend in continuous sheets and move outward in all directions.
- Mountain glaciers: – Restricted to a path that directs ice movement (usually a mountain).
- Piedmont glaciers: – Foot of the glacier is spread out on land or ocean.
The Antarctic ice sheet and Greenland ice sheet are the only ice sheets in the world. There are a large number of mountain glaciers (also known as alpine glaciers) in the world. Siachen Glacier and Aletsch Glacier are good examples. The third type is associated with the other two types rather than an independent type. Malaspina Glacier is a good example of Piedmont glaciers.
There are glaciers in Colorado
Glaciers are located in not only the Antarctic and arctic regions but also Colorado. There are 16 officially named glaciers in Colorado. However, there is only a few can consider glaciers with today’s standards. All glaciers in Colorado are mountain glaciers. Read more about Glaciers in Colorado.
Glaciers benefit everyone
The benefits of glaciers are not only about environmental facts. They have physics, biological, and cultural benefits. Glaciers are participating in the global carbon cycle. Glaciers store a significant amount of carbon dioxide. Ice sheets have direct, indirect, and uncertain impacts on carbon sequestration.
Glaciers have a greater relationship with water. They involve in water temperature regulation and water purification. They are a part of the water cycle. Other benefits of glaciers include freshwater for regular use and hydropower generation. Not to mention that they are significantly involved in wildlife and human culture.
In Asia, a glacier is a reliable source of water. They store water mass from snowfalls as ice and release them when the temperature reaches beyond the melting point. Water creates tarns reverse. Residents around the glacier or people who live across the river benefit from this freshwater.
91% of glaciers are in Antarctica
The vast majority of glacier areas are in Antarctica which is 91% of the total. Greenland comes next with 8% of the total. North America and Asia have 0.5% and 0.2% in order. All other continents combine make less than 0.1% of total glaciers in the world.
Glacier ice is blue
Glacier ice often has a blue color. Indeed, only blue light is transmitted and diffused by glaciers. Glacier ice absorbs red light waves of white light. This blue is much lighter in some glaciers but brighter in some. Also, glaciers can contain gravel, small rocks, sand, and mud. Those often have black smudges across the snow.
Glaciers are about to vanish
Glacier maltings make headlines nowadays. Global warming has rapidly increased since the industrial revolution. A temperature increment of one degree is enough to melt down a significant portion of glaciers in the world. We are in a way to lode all glaciers in the world.
Why does it matter? If all the glaciers are melted, the sea level will rise by 230 feet. This is a big deal because 40% of the world’s population is live within 100km of the coast. Small island countries like the Maldives will be completely drawn into the sea. We will lose most of our economic valuable cities. Human civilization maybe fall.
So, we need to protect glaciers from disappearing. Politicians, environmentalists, and influencers were hard working in the past decades to take action against climate change. We all have a despicability to save our world.
I hope now you have a basic understanding of glaciers. Don’t stop here. Be curious and learn more.