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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Mystery of Antarctica's Strange Disappearing Snow Is Solved
East Antarctica
October 15th, 2015
Researchers studying areas of eastern Antarctica where snow is often stripped off the surface by wind, recently found that powerful gusts are actually vaporizing massive amounts of snow, rather than blowing and redistributing it elsewhere.
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Ancient Algae Discovered in Tropical Mountain Ice Cap
June 10th, 2015
Unexpected algae leaves clues to an ancient environment
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Arctic Sea Ice Dwindling Toward Record Winter Low
Air temperature anomaly map
March 12th, 2015
Winter is when Arctic sea ice reaches its peak extent, but this year it could set a record seasonal low.
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Why Are Some Glaciers Blue?
sea ice
May 30th, 2015
Blue-ice areas are patches of ice where wind and evaporation have scoured glaciers clean of snow.
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Arctic Glacier Has Its Own Aquifer
March 11th, 2015
Isolated glaciers can store liquid water in their upper layers for years, similar to firn aquifers found in Greenland.
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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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NASA: Rising Sea Levels More Dangerous Than Thought
a glacier in southern Greenland.
August 26th, 2015
Sea level rise is occurring right now, but the magnitude and speed of the rise in the future is still a big unknown.
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Hidden Channels Beneath East Antarctica Could Cause Massive Melt
East Antarctica, Totten Glacier
March 18th, 2015
A glacier the size of California in East Antarctica is in danger of melting away, which could lead to an extreme thaw increases sea levels by about 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) worldwide if the glacier vanishes, a new study finds.
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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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