Ice of WonderAbout 10% of earth is covered with glaciers! And that’s not all. The important thing is that that glaciers provide 75 percent of freshwater to the planet! Talk about special!How Glaciers are MadeHow do glaciers get here? Well, Glaciers are made when snow piles up. This snow becomes tightly packed together. When packed together, the bottom layer of snow is the most dense. Eventually, the snow is so cold it turns into ice! The ice that makes it through a years melting cycle is called a firn. Then the firn turns into glacial ice, which is what glaciers are made of. This keeps happening too, so imagine how big and tall they could get!Types of GlaciersNow that you know what happens for glaciers to be made, I can tell you the different types of glaciers, and what you need to know about them. There are two main types of glaciers. The first type is Alpine Glaciers. Alpine Glaciers form on mountain sides. They move down through valleys and sometimes create them too! They can do that by pushing the stuff in their path out of the way. Also, Alpine Glaciers are on every continent except for Australia! The next type of glacier is Ice Sheets. Unlike Alpine Glaciers, Ice Sheets are not limited for mountains to form. They form domes, and then spread out from all directions. When Ice Sheets move, they cover everything with a thick layer of ice. The largest Ice Sheets are called Continental Glaciers. Continental Glaciers cover areas that are really big! So, even though there are two types of glaciers, they are both different!Glacier National ParkGlacier National Park is a popular park (with about 3 million people per year visiting it) and is helping to preserve glaciers the best they can. This park is located in Montana and is home to many glaciers. Many mammals live in Glacier National Park, in fact, 71 species make their home at this park! Also, there are even more bird species living there, 276 to be exact! And although there are only three species of reptiles living there, there might just be a mystery fourth one… Adding to the animals, 6 species of amphibians live in Glacier National Park as well. These animals need food to survive, and Glacier National Park has a lot of nature, which includes a large food source of grass. Glacier National Park is a great help to glaciers!Glaciers ChallengesEven though Glacier National Park is trying to protect glaciers, there are things that are making it difficult to do so. In fact, many glaciers are melting! When glaciers melt, they add fresh water to the ocean, and increase the sea level. That means that we are losing fresh water to the oceans salt water. And when too much fresh water is added to the ocean, it could change the oceans ecosystem and current! Also, less salt in the ocean could really change the weather on land. Come on, you can do it GNP!What Glaciers do for usGlaciers are melting, but they still do many things for us. Glaciers provide many resources for us, such as fresh water. Glaciers give water to rivers from their melting ice. When glaciers move through, they create landscape features that most think are beautiful. They deposit sand and gravel. Sand and gravel are used to make asphalt and concrete. Glaciers also has glacial till, which gives people fertile soil for crops. What glaciers can do, is pretty amazing! Fun FactsThere have been many things you have learned about glaciers, so here’s some fun facts! You might not believe this, but even though they look smooth in pictures, glaciers are very rough. The edges of a polar ice field has large cliffs that drop straight down to the ocean. In some places on glaciers, big cracks open up and are big enough to swallow entire vehicles. Watch out! As long as glaciers are around, the earth will never run out of fresh water. And, if the peaks of mountains are cold enough, glaciers can exist in the tropics! Hmm, so many things you never knew!In the future, I hope that glaciers will go back to normal, and their melting will go down. And along with that, I want to invite you to try to help as well. Do whatever you can to protect the ice of wonder we call glaciers!
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