My fascination with glaciers started during my summit of Chimborazo, a 20,000 some foot mountain in Ecuador, in 1991. I’ll never forget how intrigued I was with the ice formations that stool higher than my head and the wide gaping crevices.
After that climb I began reading all that i could about glaciers; their formation, history and personalities. Yes, Glaciers are fascinating characters.
Here’s a great site to learn a little more about these beasties:
In the mean time here are a few tidbits:
1. Largest glacier in the world
The Lambert-Fisher Glacier in Antarctica, is 250 miles long and approximately 60 miles wide (roughly the size of Rhode Island). It’s a whopping 8202 feet deep (roughly the height of Mount Shasta) and drains 8% of the Antarctic ice sheet.
2. Some glaciers “Gallop.”
A galloping glacier can advance many feet a day. The Hubbard Glacier (in Alaska) once moved at a rate of 32 feet a day for months. You can witness movement when a glacier “calves.”
3. Glaciers are retreating; a worrisome sign for scientists.
4. Some glaciers “Calve.”
This is how icebergs are born. It’s the process of ice breaking off the terminus of a glacier into a body of water.
5. Some glaciers “Hang.”
These are seen in alpine areas and result due to the angle of the mountainside. As the glacier moves it cascades down as avalanches and icefalls.
6. Glaciers have Ice Worms.
Surprisingly, there are worms that live in the depths and surfaces of glaciers. You wouldn’t think anything could grow in such a harsh and desolate climate.
7. Glaciers make MILK and FLOUR.
A very fine sediment created by the grinding of glacial ice against rock flows from the glacier. It’s a powder as fine as chalk and it stays suspended in the run off water as it travels from the foot of the glacier all the way down rivers and into lakes. The Milk gives the water a, well, milky appearance and in lakes it can create a soft turquoise color.
The Poodles and I had a great time hiking along a milk and flour filled river. It was fascinating to see the clear streams entering the main milky river and how the confluences mixed.