This post is a part of A-Z Challenge for bloggers, that takes place every year in the month of April. Bloggers take part in this challenge for self improvement and to overcome the “writer’s block”. Each one of us writes one article everyday, starting from the alphabet ‘A’, right up to ‘Z’. My theme for this year’s challenge is – mind-blowing facts and theories.
As we know, glaciers are huge masses of ice. They are formed when a large amount of snow falls in one location year after year. Over decades or centuries, the older layers of snow are compressed down by the weight of freshly falling snow. This compressed snow becomes ice, resulting into glaciers. Here are a few interesting facts about these beautiful masses.
- The world’s largest glacier is approximately 400 kilometers long, 100 kilometers wide and 2500 meters deep. It is the Lambert-Fisher Glacier located in Antarctica. Even small glaciers can be about the size of a football field!
- There is a distinctively fizzing noise that melting glaciers and icebergs make, known as “bergy seltzer”.
- They hold about 69 percent of the world’s fresh water. Whereas, lakes, rivers, swamps, and similar water bodies combined hold approximately 0.3 percent of the world’s fresh water supply! In fact, the water in your glass right now might have once been inside a glacier! Isn’t that amazing?
- The Antarctic ice sheet is a glacier too and is over 40 million years old. According to the U.S. Geological Service, if this sheet were to melt entirely, sea levels would rise 210 feet worldwide.
- A volcano in Columbia which was covered with glaciers erupted in 1985, resulting in the glaciers to melt instantly. In about two hours, an entire nearby village was under a 100 ft deep flood of mud, rock and water, killing 20,000 residents.
- Ever wondered why some glaciers look blue? Well, because blue is the only color that glacial ice cannot absorb, hence this color is reflected and some glaciers appear blue.
- Blood Falls, a glacier in Antarctica regularly pours out a red liquid, making it look like the ice is bleeding. This remained a mystery for long for two reasons. Firstly, it’s red – brown blood like color and secondly, such large amounts of flowing water which was difficult to understand, keeping in mind that very little glacial melting could be seen at the surface due to the average temperature being 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius). Researchers soon discovered that this brine water flowed out from a complex network of sub-glacial rivers underlying the glaciers. Further, the bloody color of the brine water was explained by the high iron content.