What's the World's Biggest Glacier?


The world's largest glacier is the Lambert glacier in Antarctica , according to the United States Geological Survey.The glacier is more than 60 miles (96 km) wide at its widest point, about 270 miles (435) long, and has been measured to be 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) deep at its center.

Glaciers form when the annual snowfall in a region exceeds the rate at which the snow melts, allowing enormous amounts of snow to accumulate over time. The fallen snow compresses into solid ice under its own weight, forming solid sheets of ice.

And these sheets are in motion. Glaciers flow like very slow-moving rivers, and can stretch over hundreds of miles. The Lambert glacier flows at a rate of about 1,300 to 2,600 feet (400 to 800 meters) each year.

Although most of the world's glaciers are found in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, glaciers exist on all of the world's continents, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Glaciers cover about 10 percent of the world's total land area.

Karen Rowan
Health Editor
Karen came to LiveScience in 2010, after writing for Discover and Popular Mechanics magazines, and working as a correspondent for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. She holds an M.S. degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University, as well as an M.S. in cellular biology from Northeastern Illinois University. Prior to becoming a journalist, Karen taught science at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, in Lincolnshire, Ill. for eight years.