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Unfortunately, there are many news that we can see, both on social networks and through newspapers and television, related to the disappearance or melting of glaciers . And although it is true that more and more people are aware of the environment, from our AgroCorrn page, we want to contribute our grain of sand to the cause. Therefore, we want you to know a little more about these impressive formations of nature.

Read on and discover everything about the glacial landscape with this article about what glaciers are , how they are formed, their parts, types, some of the most famous and what is different from an iceberg.

You may also be interested in: Glacial erosion: definition, types and examples

What are glaciers and how are they formed

Glaciers are large masses made up mainly of snow, ice, and rocks . After a long process of thousands of years, the snow compacts, resulting in a thick layer of crystallized ice. This process of glacier formation is called glaciation , hence it is directly related to the ancient Ice Age.

The formation of a glacier can take more than 100 years. The beginning of this process occurs when the snow falls continuously throughout the year. A decisive factor for the snow to remain is that the temperatures are mild. In this way, at the beginning of the cold season, a new layer will be generated over the one already formed in the previous year, which is compacted.

The compression, thanks to the compaction of the new snowflakes that fall on the previous layers, creates a process of ice crystallization as air is released between the different layers. In this way the snow increases its density, resulting in a sliding of the ice, which flows more quickly and freely. For this reason, it is very important for the glacier to find a balance between the snow it receives and the snow that evaporates, which requires many years.

Parts of a glacier

These are the main parts of a glacier :

  • Accumulation area : the highest area of ​​the glacier, where little by little the snow accumulates.
  • Ablation area: it is the area of ​​the glacier where the processes of fusion and evaporation take place. Thanks to these processes, the glacier finds the balance between the increase and the loss of mass.
  • Cracks: these are in the area where the glacier flows faster.
  • Glacial moraines: glacial moraines are the bands of sediments that create dark betas on the surface of the glacier. They are usually found at the top of the glacier.
  • Terminal: it is the lower end of the glacier. In this area is where the accumulated snow melts throughout the process.

Types of glaciers

The main types of glaciers that we can find are:

  • Alpine glaciers.
  • Valley glaciers.
  • Ice cap glaciers.
  • Plateau glaciers.

Glaciers of the world

At present, almost 10% of the planet’s surface is covered by glaciers, the vast majority accumulated in the polar ice caps . These accumulate almost 75% of the fresh water on Earth, hence their great importance and the serious consequences produced by their thaw.

Glaciers can also be found in the great mountain ranges of many areas of the planet such as the Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas, New Guinea and even East Africa. The Lambert Glacier , which is located in Antarctica, is the largest in the world. It has a depth of 2,500 meters and a total extension of 100 km wide by 400 km long.

Here we leave a list with other of the most important glaciers on the planet :

  • Olden Glacier, Norway.
  • Briksda Glacier, l in Norway.
  • Gray Glacier, in Chile.
  • El Morado Glacier, in Chile.
  • Petermamn Glacier, Greenland.
  • Perito Moreno Glacier, in Argentina.
  • Martial Glacier, in Argentina.
  • Black Glacier, in Iceland.

What is an iceberg and its difference from a glacier

Icebergs are a large mass of floating ice that, due to different factors, has broken off a glacier . A part of it is always visible, above the surface of the water, while more than half of its structure is submerged. Hence, it represents a danger to maritime navigation, since it is very difficult to calculate with the naked eye the magnitude of its real proportions. Due to global warming , many icebergs have formed in recent years.

One of the main factors in its displacement is due to the density of the ocean’s salty water, which allows the iceberg to stay afloat. Upon arrival in regions where the ocean current reaches higher temperatures, icebergs melt to add their volume of fresh water to sea level. Another of the great dangers of thawing is the change it produces in coastal areas, where the water level rises more each year.

Therefore, as a conclusion, we can say that the difference between a glacier and an iceberg is that the first is the large mass of fixed ice and the second is a detached part of it that floats in the water adrift.

Greenland suffers a massive thaw

As important news about the thaw, we want to highlight what happened on June 13, 2019 in Greenland. On that same day Greenland lost more than 40% of its frozen territory , in the form of glaciers, due to melting or thawing. Scientists estimated that 2 gigatons of ice or 2 billion tons of ice were lost .

The main consequence has been a large increase in temperatures in recent times, a problem that we humans have produced. It must be remembered that although there is natural climate change, humans have been producing an incredible acceleration of this process for a long time, which we know as artificial or anthropic climate change . Thus, due to the great pollution that we produce at all levels, we increase problems such as the greenhouse effect and, hence, increased temperatures or increased global warming, which leads to climate change occurring much faster and To begin with, the glaciers melt and the level of the oceans increases notably, leaving less habitable land area, among other serious problems for all species.

In the image below, a photograph taken by scientist Steffen Malskaer Olsen, you can see part of the result of this serious event in Greenland.

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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