5 Facts about Glaciers worth Reading

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WORDS BY ALISON JONES | AUGUST 17, 2017

Having spent millennia carving their way through unremitting landscapes of solid rock and soaring peaks, glaciers have monumentally shaped the way our world looks today.

Aside from their awesome size and grandeur, glaciers hold a wealth of intriguing facts that will take your appreciation of these ancient ice giants to the next level.

Conrad Glacier, CMH Bobbie Burns, Carl Trescher, via ferrata
Photo: Carl Trescher | Conrad Glacier, CMH Bobbie Burns

1.North America is home to the second largest amount of glaciers in the world
Second only to the Arctic, North America is host to an impressive 124,000sq/km (or 47,877 sq/mi) of glacial ice. To put that into perspective, that’s approximately the same size as Switzerland and Austria combined.

Photo: Taylor Burk | CMH Bugaboos
Photo: Taylor Burk | CMH Bugaboos

2.Glaciers Cover 3% of BC
A remarkable 3% of BC’s landmass is covered by glacier ice. The percentage is made up of around 17,000 individual glaciers.

CMH Heli Skiing, Heli Hiking
Photo: Steve Romeo | CMH Heli-Skiing

3.Some glaciers are so heavy they actually depress the Earth’s crust
Imagine a mass heavy enough to crush a layer of the Earth. Well, the density of glacier ice (which is two-thirds as dense as water) can do just that. Crazy, right? But that’s not all. As glaciers melt the pressure on the Earth lessens, resulting in the crust returning to its original position. This whole incredible process is called isostatic rebound.

CMH Heli-Hiking, Taylor Burk, Glacier Lagoon
Photo: Taylor Burk | CMH Summer Adventures

4.If all glaciers melted, sea level would rise around 70m (230ft) worldwide
Just a little something to think about before bedtime.

CMH Bugaboos, Glacier, Lyle Grisedale
Photo: Lyle Grisedale | CMH Bugaboos

5.Simply put, glaciers are enormous frozen moving rivers
While glaciers appear to be solid and still, the opposite is actually true. Through a mix of gravity, pressure and flowing water, most glaciers are in a constant state of movement with the majority either advancing or retreating through the landscape. So while it’s already almost inconceivable to comprehend the sheer mass of a glacier, it’s another to imagine one also slowly moving its way through a landscape.

Glaciers; the more you know.

More on CMH Summer Adventures glacier hikes here.