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Facts About Glaciers

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Seeing a picture of a glacier is one of nature’s wonders. The size of these glaciers can be huge and watching them in person as they calve or split off is both fascinating and terrifying. Some of the areas that glaciers cover are Greenland, North Pole, South Pole and Alaska for example. They can also be the cause of a shipwreck as noted by what happened to the Titanic when she sunk en route to New York in 1915 by impact with an iceberg. If you want to know more information about glaciers, take a look at these facts.

Features of a glacial landscapeCommon features of a glacial landscape. © Surachit.

Movement and colors

Glaciers take their time moving across the landscape. Some of them can take several hundreds of years to move from one place to another. Many different people have noted the colors of glaciers as a deep blue at times. At other times it is like a huge light bulb has been lit inside the glacier itself. They can also appear dusty and rocky. The deep blue coloration can come from the color of the sea.

Area of coverage

Ten percent of the earth is covered in glaciers. In fact, the ice sheet of the Antarctic is a glacier and has been in place for over 40 million years. You can find glaciers in over 47 countries worldwide. One fact that may surprise you is that Mount Kilimanjaro is glaciated even though it is on the equator. The range of a glacier can range from 100 miles or more to the size of a football field.

A retreating glacier and its effects on the surrounding landscapeA retreating glacier and its effects on the surrounding landscape. © Hans Hillewaert.

Fresh water storage

Fresh water storage is contained in glacier ice. This is the largest reservoir for fresh water and has an estimated three quarters of the world’s fresh water supply frozen inside.

Glaciers and Alaska

Alaska is noted as having over 100,000 glaciers in the state. Some are named while others are not. Travel and tourism to this state for the glaciers is one of the big draws in Alaska. Many millions of people come to see the glaciers of Alaska every single year. Glacier watching is a big tourist business.

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