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Glaciers - What are they ..
  
[Buerbrae Glacier, Odde, Hardanger Fjord, Norway] (LOC)by The Library of Congress on Flickr

  • A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years, often centuries. 
  • At least 0.1 km2 in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight. 
  • Crevasses, seracs, and other distinguishing features of a glacier are due to its flow. 
  • Another consequence of glacier flow is the transport of rock and debris abraded from its substrate and resultant landforms like cirques and moraines. 
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The Mountain Exhaledby laszlo-photo on Flickr

  • On Earth, 99% of glacial ice is contained within vast ice sheets in the polar regions, but glaciers may be found in mountain ranges of every continent, and on a few high-latitude oceanic islands. 
  • Between 35°N and 35°S, glaciers occur only in the Himalayas, Andes, a few high mountains in East Africa, Mexico, New Guinea and on Zard Kuh in Iran.
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Lake Titicacaby szeke on Flickr

  • Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, supporting one third of the world's population.
  • Many glaciers store water during one season and release it later as meltwater, a water source that is especially important for plants, animals and human uses when other sources may be scant.
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Face of the Neumeyer Glacier, 1915 / by Frank Hurleyby State Library of New South Wales collection on Flickr

  • Because glacial mass is affected by long-term climate changes, e.g., precipitation, mean temperature, and cloud cover, glacial mass changes are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change and are a major source of variations in sea level.
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[Boiumsbrae (i.e., Bojumsbrae), Sognefjord, Norway] (LOC)by The Library of Congress on Flickr

  • The Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram, Baltistan, Northern Pakistan. At 62 kilometres (39 mi) in length, it is one of the longest alpine glaciers on earth.
  • The Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier of the Alps, in Switzerland
  • The Quelccaya Ice Cap, is the largest glaciated area in the tropics, in Peru
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