Why is glacier ice blue?

Because the red (long wavelengths) part of white light is absorbed by ice and the blue (short wavelengths) light is transmitted and scattered. The longer the path light travels in ice, the more blue it appears.

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Which mountain in the conterminous U.S. has the most glaciers?

Mount Rainier, Washington, at 14,410 feet (4,393 meters), the highest peak in the Cascade Range, is a dormant volcano whose glacier ice cover exceeds that of any other mountain in the conterminous United States. Mount Rainier has approximately 26 glaciers. It contains more than five times the glacier area of all the other Cascade volcanoes...

How old is glacier ice?

The age of the oldest glacier ice in Antarctica may approach 1,000,000 years old The age of the oldest glacier ice in Greenland is more than 100,000 years old The age of the oldest Alaskan glacier ice ever recovered (from a basin between Mt. Bona and Mt. Churchill) is about 30,000 years old. Glacier flow moves newly formed ice through the entire...

Are today's glaciers leftovers from the Pleistocene ice age?

Yes and no. It depends on which glaciers you are considering. Parts of the Antarctic Continent have had continuous glacier cover for perhaps as long as 20 million years. Other areas, such as valley glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula and glaciers of the Transantarctic Mountains may date from the early Pleistocene. For Greenland, ice cores and...

Was all of Alaska covered by glaciers during the Pleistocene Ice Age?

No--most of interior Alaska, south of the Brooks Range and north of the Alaska Range, was a non-glaciated grassland refuge habitat for a number of plant and animal species during the maximum Pleistocene glaciation. This ice-free corridor also provided one route for humans to move into North America.

Do ice worms exist?

Yes, ice worms do, in fact, exist! They are small worms that live in glacial ice in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia; they have not been found in glaciers elsewhere. Contrary to stories and songs, they do not give glacier ice its blue color and they don't grow to lengths of 50 feet. (These myths were made popular by poet Robert...

Is glacier ice a type of rock?

Yes – glacier ice, like granite, is a type of rock. Glacier ice is actually a mono-mineralic rock (a rock made of only one mineral, like limestone which is composed of the mineral calcite). The mineral ice is the crystalline form of water (H 2 O). It forms through the metamorphism of tens of thousands of individual snowflakes into crystals of...

Where are glaciers found in continental North America?

Glaciers exist in both the United States and Canada. Most U.S. glaciers are in Alaska; others can be found in Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Nevada (Wheeler Peak Glacier in Great Basin National Park). Reputedly, Utah’s Timpanogos Glacier is now a rock glacier (in which the ice is hidden by rocks), and Idaho’s Otto...

How would sea level change if glaciers melted?

If all of the glacier ice on Earth were to melt, sea level would rise ~ 80 m (~ 265 ft), flooding every coastal city on the planet. If all of Earth’s temperate glaciers melted, sea level would rise ~ 0.3–0.6 m (~ 1-2 ft). If all of Greenland’s glaciers melted, sea level would rise ~ 6 m (~ 20 ft). If all of Antarctica’s glaciers melted, sea level...

What is a glacier?

A glacier is a large, perennial accumulation of crystalline ice, snow, rock, sediment, and often liquid water that originates on land and moves down slope under the influence of its own weight and gravity. Typically, glaciers exist and may even form in areas where: mean annual temperatures are close to the freezing point winter precipitation...
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Date published: May 10, 2017

Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking and Disappearing: 50 Years of Glacier Change in Montana

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

Date published: September 28, 2016

Fifty Years of Glacier Change Research in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America.

Date published: March 18, 2015

From Icefield to Ocean - What Glacier Change Might Mean for the Future of Alaska

Frozen bodies of ice cover nearly 10 percent of the state of Alaska, but the influence of glaciers on the environment, tourism, fisheries, hydropower, and other important Alaska resources is rarely discussed.

Date published: January 20, 2015

Melting Glaciers Increase the Flow of Carbon to Downstream Ecosystems

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans, according to new research that provides the first ever global-scale estimates for the storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers.

Date published: December 4, 2014

Rare Insect Found Only in Glacier National Park Imperiled by Melting Glaciers

The persistence of an already rare aquatic insect, the western glacier stonefly, is being imperiled by the loss of glaciers and increased stream temperatures due to climate warming in mountain ecosystems, according to a new study released in Freshwater Science.

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Juneau Icefield
August 31, 2016

Juneau Icefield

Photograph of the Juneau icefields of southeastern Alaska that contain more than 140 glaciers which extend over 1,500 square miles (3,900 square km). Fieldwork in Alaska for the Terrestrial Records of Holocene Climate Change project from July 29 to August 10, 2016.

South Crillon Glacier
June 5, 2016

South Crillon Glacier

Periodic calving of ice from the snout of South Crillon Glacier.

Mapping the glacier's edge in Glacier National Park.
April 5, 2016

Mapping the glacier's edge in Glacier National Park.

Mapping the glacier's edge in Glacier National Park.

Image: Blue Ice
August 26, 2009

Blue Ice

Ice is pushed away from the hull of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy Aug. 26, 2009.

Image: Surprise Glacier
August 22, 2008

Surprise Glacier

Surprise Glacier (in background), Harriman Fiord, western Prince William Sound.

Image: Surprise Glacier
August 22, 2008

Surprise Glacier

Surprise Glacier, Harriman Fiord, western Prince William Sound.

Image: Barry Glacier
August 20, 2008

Barry Glacier

Barry Glacier, Barry Arm, western Prince William Sound.

Image: Coxe Glacier
August 20, 2008

Coxe Glacier

Coxe Glacier, Barry Arm, western Prince William Sound.

Image: Columbia Glacier Calving
June 17, 2005

Columbia Glacier Calving

A dramatic iceberg calving from Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The iceberg has just broken free from under the water and shot to the surface, spinning towards the ice face. The ice cliff here is about 70 m (229.7 ft) tall. Icebergs are calved as stress fractures in the glacier merge, eventually resulting in a piece of ice cracking off and falling into

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Image: Alaskan Glacier
June 1, 2005

Alaskan Glacier

Near Seward, Alaska

Image: Denali Fault: Canwell Glacier
November 9, 2002

Denali Fault: Canwell Glacier

Peter Haeussler prepares to measure the offset of a crevasse on the Canwell Glacier.

Image: Muir Glacier and Muir Inlet 1980
August 1, 1980

Muir Glacier and Muir Inlet 1980

This ship-deck-based August 1980 photograph of Muir Glacier and Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, St. Elias Mountains, Alaska, shows the nearly 200-ft-high retreating tidewater end of Muir Glacier with part of its face capped by a few angular pinnacles of ice, called séracs. Note the icebergs in the ship's wake in the lower right side of the photograph.

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