Environmental Chemistry

Glaciers Meaning Definition Meting and Formation

What are glaciers?

The glaciers are formed by the accumulation of snow in one place, a process that can take up to 30,000 years to materialize. The snow crystallizes and compacts in layers, forming an extensive mass of ice. This phenomenon is more common in the regions of high latitudes (in the terrestrial poles) and in the mountain ranges.
Features of glaciers
  • They make up 10% of the Earth’s surface.
  • They are found in areas of mountain ranges.
  • They are remnants of the Ice Age.
  • Its ice comes mainly from Greenland and Antarctica.
  • They are important for man, flora, and fauna.
  • They represent the largest reserves of fresh water on the planet.
  • They are classified into polar, subpolar, and temperate.
  • They break off to form icebergs.

Glacier Formation

For the formation of a glacier, it is necessary that the accumulation of snow is greater than the process of thawing so that areas that register low temperatures are more prone to appearance and maintenance.

For this aspect, the main glaciers on Earth are at the poles, places where the temperature is negative most of the year.

characteristics of glaciers


The  Antarctic, with about 14 million square kilometers, is the largest land glacier. This region is home to approximately 90% of the planet’s ice.

Other glaciers of great importance are Greenland, the Arctic, and Patagonia, among many others, scattered throughout the different mountain ranges of the world.

Importance of glaciers

These glaciers are of vital importance for the maintenance of life on Earth since they concentrate almost 70% of freshwater.

In addition to reducing the amount of freshwater, the melting of ice causes a series of socio-environmental problems: an increase in the level and change of temperature of ocean waters, reduction of biodiversity, flooding in some places, etc.

The importance of glaciers to the planet is that they contribute to reducing global warming, but countries that are very consuming are causing glaciers to melt and this aggravates global warming.

Given the importance of glaciers for life on Earth, the search for behavioral changes is urgent, especially in the mode of production and consumption of capitalist societies, to reduce the emission of gases that intensify the greenhouse effect and, consequently, minimize the global warming process.

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