Have you ever witnessed a huge white glacier? If not, then you might have seen it on TV or internet videos. Watching all these insane glaciers, did you get brainstorming questions like how they are form, what they are for, how many centuries a glacier took to gain such incredible size, how they affect our natural water resource. Well, we are here to shake you mind with pleasure so as to introduce what glaciers are and how they form.
What Glaciers Are And How They Form?
Yes, glaciers are huge, made up of not only the ice and snow but also include rocks, boulders and so look sometime dark. Wait, don’t you dare think of skiing over glacier!
What is ‘The Glacier’:
Well, every glacier is giant! It’s a large structure of ice, created by the gathering of layers of snow over and over again, which never melts, lasting centuries. At times, a huge piece of glacier looks blue, as you can the large water quantity as blue in color i.e. sea. But these are the air bubbles that give pure white color to the ice. Despite their large size, glaciers move slowly and very slowly, so also called as ‘river of ice’.
Formation of Glacier:
You might be wondering of its size and the time a glacier needs to gain this insane form. Definitely, it would have taken many centuries, very low temperature and constant gathering of layer one by one. The interesting fact is, glaciers, in polar region, accumulate more snow in winter season than they lose in summer from evaporation and melting. Such condition ensures that accumulated snow of winter is not going to melt in summer, hence results in more and more and more layers of compressed snow. Compressed snow is known as firn and further firn is compressed by another layer of snowfall and thereafter, they tend it all to make big ice crystals.
These ice crystals get denser and denser, and repeating this process for years results into formation of glacier.
Polar and alpines regions have the most of the glaciers due to the cool temperature’s condition prevail here so is best for nurturing of glacier but Africa and incredible Himalayans (which are not polar regions) also have glaciers. The dense and compact formation of ice has the density about 850 kilograms per cubic meters.
Here are the few factors that affect formation of glaciers:
• Temperature (avg. daily temperature)
• Continental locations
Location of Glaciers:
Antarctica and the land of glaciers! Greenland is also widely known for big glaciers. Despite the fact- formation of glaciers need a certain climate and condition, even Africa is blessed with white beauty of moving ice. You might have heard of coolest, almost no life land, Antarctica for icy mountains. Most of the world’s glaciers are on Polar Regions. Without including the Greenland ice sheet, alone Arctic islands widely spread over the 275,500 square kilometers. Despite the big size of glaciers, they do melt or sometimes, due to the global warming, they float and flow and melting into water very slowly but regularly.
Moreover, despite the existence of glaciers on Polar Regions, glaciers strongly own the Himalayan and Alps which are the high altitude locations. High altitude locations have snow and low temperature so the melting of ice is not possible hence results the accumulation of snow and so become the huge glacier. World’s 69% of the fresh water resources are glaciers.
Movement/ Disappearance of glaciers:
As now you know the formation of glaciers by regular accumulation of snow, you might think of how what happen to the accumulated snow when it gets covered by new layer every time. There are deformations in the glaciers; major factors are gravity, slop and location of head of glacier (accumulated zone). And these factors are force which cause top layers of glacier to flow downward to warmer side or glacier foot. On the glacier foot side, there are several moments when huge boulders or piece of ice break and float into river and that water is totally fresh and full of resources. But now, we are losing glaciers and scientists have been indicating it as bad sign, which could lead us to major problems. Do you know if only arctic sheets melted away, the oceans would rise more than 200 feet now you can image what would happen to the world, rivers, beaches will be gone and cities as well.
You got to understand the difference between natural melting process of glaciers which is obvious movement, but global warming is doing something negative to glaciers, increasing in temperatures, melting rapidly instead accumulating of snow. Glaciers in Himalayan regions are horribly melting and disappearing. Glacier you are looking today at, is the resultant of thousands of years of accumulation of snow and climatic conditions. Do let us know in comment section what you have to share about glaciers.