Glaciers are essentially giant rivers of ice that are formed over eons as fallen snow is compressed into layers of ice. Glaciers are found on about 10 percent of Earth's land area, with most of them found in the Arctic and Antarctica regions, but some occurring high up on mountains, even in tropical areas. Glacial ice makes up the ice sheets that cover Antarctica and Greenland, with glaciers flowing out to sea, where their ends float on the water as ice shelves. Eventually pieces of the ice shelves break off, or calve, to form icebergs. The movement of glaciers scours the underlying rock, and a glacier's movement can be affected by climate change, with worries that global warming could cause substantial glacial melt and impact global sea levels. For the latest news on glacier research and stunning views of these rivers of ice, see below.
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Volcano Megafloods May Have Formed Europe’s Mightiest Waterfall
detifoss waterfall
February 10th, 2015
The eruption of volcanoes buried beneath Iceland's glacier may have triggered a series of megafloods that carved a giant canyon in a period of days, new research suggests.
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Greenland's Ice-Melt Models May Be Too Sunny
Jakobshavn ice bergs
December 16th, 2014
The vast ice sheet covering Greenland could melt more quickly in the future than existing models predict, new research suggests.
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Glacier's Groans Can Pinpoint Iceberg Calving
Hans Glacier
February 5th, 2015
Iceberg calving events have distinctive sounds that could help scientists pinpoint how much ice is vanishing and contributing to sea level rise.
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Melting Glaciers Pose a Carbon Menace
Tibet glacier
January 21st, 2015
Melting glaciers pose another threat beyond sea level rise. They will dump massive amounts of organic carbon into the world's oceans, altering ecosystems.
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Mountains of Ice are Melting, But Don't Panic (Op-Ed)
Jakobshavn Glacier
December 12th, 2014
As ice melts, the world now has a chance to respond.
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Robot Gliders See How Antarctic Ice Melts From Below
Antarctica research ship
November 10th, 2014
Scientists suspect Antarctica's shrinking glaciers are melting from the bottom up, and a fleet of robot ocean gliders may help explain why.
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Waking Beasts: Underwater Volcanoes Roused by Ice Ages
seafloor ridges
February 5th, 2015
The rise and fall of sea level during the past million years matches up with valleys and ridges on the seafloor, suggesting a link between underwater eruptions and ice ages, two new studies find.
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How Greenland Got Its Glaciers
Greenland Mountains
January 8th, 2015
Greenland is famous for its massive glaciers, but the region was relatively free of ice until about 2.7 million years ago, according to a new study. Before then, the Northern Hemisphere had been mostly ice-free for more than 500 million years.
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Vulnerable Valleys Found Among Antarctica's Ice-Covered Volcanoes
Mount Murphy
December 11th, 2014
The best look yet at the hidden, ice-covered volcanic mountains in West Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land reveals never-before-seen deep valleys between the ranges, which means more glacial melting is possible than thought.
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