Glaciology is the study of Glaciers and the natural phenomena that involve ice.
Below you will find some general information on Glaciers around the world today, and to the left you will find the latest information on Glacier: an organisation that harbours huge potential and is making a significant impact on the IT market in South Africa.
For centuries scientists, authors and photographers have tried to capture and understand the awesome beauty and majesty of glaciers around the world.
If you have ever had the opportunity to stand in the shadow of glacier, to admire its majesty, grace and sheer power, you would understand why glaciers have always elicited awe and curiosity. Words such as extraordinary, pristine and magnificent are often associated with glaciers.
Glaciers are found on every continent, including Africa, and on other planets. Most commonly spoken about are the ice caps on Mars which are a keystone argument to potential inhabitation on Mars.
A Glacier’s Potential
Today, the term glacier is seldom used in a context other than global warming. So we have lost sight of all the other factors that make glaciers the remarkable and majestic wonders that they are.
We forget that that 75% of the earth’s fresh water is stored in glaciers across the world, and that they cover about 10% of the earth's land masses. In the context of global warming, if the land ice melted, then the sea-levels would rise 70m. While that may not affect us folk in Johannesburg directly, it would have a phenomenal impact on millions of people living in low-lying cities around the world not to mention the ecological catastrophe that would result.
The Power and Impact of Glaciers.
History has shown that glaciers can trap large levels of precipitation, preventing the water from reaching the oceans. This then causes sea levels to drop, thus affecting water systems across the globe.
Glaciers also hinder or alter many of Earth’s geologic processes. The Earth’s crust is pushed down by the sheer weight of glaciers upon the land masses. Mountains, valleys and water systems are carved and destroyed by glaciers. Boulders and rocks are plucked up glaciers, dragged along the surface, scarring, grinding and eroding the terrain, and then dumped with other debris.
Motion and change define a glacier's life. Glaciers advance and then retreat depending on climatic conditions. The speed at which a glacier moves will also change. While they appear monumental and stationary, they are in fact moving under their own weight and the force of gravity. The fastest glacial surge was recorded in 1953. A glacier in Pakistan moved about 112m per day for a period of 3 months.
As glaciers move into the ocean, segments may break off and land in the ocean. These blocks of ice, known as icebergs, can be up to 80km long. They will travel the oceans far and wide, and become notable landmarks for all seafarers in those oceans.
So next time you come across a Glacier, in whatever shape or form, stand in awe of its history, appreciate its potential, and admire its power.
Information from the National snow and Ice Data center – NSIDC.ORG