What makes a Glacier and what affects Speed of a Glacier

What makes a Glacier and what affects Speed of a Glacier

Posted by Manisha on May 25, 2020

Who loves making Snowman?

Everybody enjoys playing with the snow, especially the people of temperate and some tropical region, where after the summer season winter season comes and brings snowfall along with it in that region.

I also belong to the Temperate region and love to play with the snow of season’s first snowfall. Also, there are so many sports-related with winter and snow or ice like – skiing, ice skating, sledding, snowboarding, luge, snowmobiling, and many more.

But do you know these dense, compressed and thick snow or ice-covered mountain, poles, and the region has one secret? Do you know its secret?

No? So let’s reveal its secret.

Here, in this post, I’ll try to explain about Glacier. What is a glacier? What all secret it has, hidden inside the layers of a Glacier?

What is Glacier?

The dense compressed and thick snow or ice masses are known as Glacier. Which is made up of fallen snow over many years.

Properties of Glacier

After knowing about the glacier, let’s talk about its properties which are given below.

  • The term Glacier comes from a French word Glacé, which means Ice.
  • Glaciers are often called “River of Ice”.
  • These are constantly moving under its own weight. But the movement of a glacier is very slow, sometimes even not noticeable.
  • Speed of it varies greatly but generally, it moves around 1 meter (3 feet) per day, whereas sometimes moves very fast as 20–30 meter ( 70-100 feet) per day. 

For example, Jakobshavn Isbrae of Greenland.

Factors affecting Speed of Glaciers

Speed of glaciers is affected by many factors such as: 

  • The slope of the surface
  • Thickness of ice
  • Snowfall received 
  • Longitudinal confinement 
  • Basal temperature
  • Meltwater Production
  • Bed hardness

After this, it becomes very important to know about the area covered by glaciers on the Earth.

Area covered by Glaciers

Presently, glacier occupies about 10% of the world’s total land area.

Glaciers are mainly located in polar regions like Antarctica, Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and Greenland.
Also found in the higher altitude and latitude of a country like in mountain ranges, on every continent like the Himalayas, Andes, Rocky, and many more.

Glacier reminds us of the ice age of Earth Planet when around 32% of the land and 30% of the ocean was covered with ice.

Some glaciers are small as football fields, while others grow up to hundreds and thousands of kilometer long.

The glacier is found mainly in two forms:

1. Ice cape:
These are the dome-shaped glacier mass flowing in all directions.
For example, Icecap on Ellesmere island in the Canadian Arctic.

2. Ice sheet:
These sheet forms broad domes and spread out from their center to all directions.
An ice sheet covers everything around them with a thick blanket of ice, including valley, and spread over a vast area around 50,000 kilometers. 
These large ice sheets are called continental glaciers.

For example, Antarctica and Greenland.

Glaciers are the great reservoir of freshwater on Earth.

These all secrets were imbibed by glacier into it, in the form of its properties. Hopefully, this post helps you to know more about glaciers.
I'll discuss more the glacier and about its erosional and depositional landforms, incoming post.