Asked by Marie Glaciers began in Antarctica around 35 million years ago during a period of cooling climates. As the Antarctic continent drifted south, the Drake Passage opened, allowing the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to become established. This current effectively isolated Antarctica from heat transfer from further north, resulting in cooling. So, with its drift southwards … Read more
Asked by Julianna Most of the glaciers in Antarctica are currently shrinking. Around 87 % of the glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula are in recession, and glaciers at the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula are currently shrinking rapidly. You can read more about this in this Blog Post. In West Antarctica, Pine Island Glacier … Read more
Asked by Mike This is a tricky question to answer. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet has a global eustatic sea level contribution of 3.2 m – that is, if all the ice in this area melted, global sea level would rise by 3.2 m. The Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet would contribute 0.24 m to global … Read more
Asked by Davina Hello Davina. Try this site: NeoK12 for some fun videos. Or try KidsConnect for some fun fast facts. There is a long list of educational websites on the SCAR website, and here are some of my favourites: Penguin colouring pages More penguin colouring pages Scott Polar Research Institute kids’ pages ABC Teach … Read more
Asked by Morag Wow, this is an interesting question! You can learn all about subglacial volcanoes here. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet has many subglacial lakes beneath it; geothermal heating is thought to contribute to the melting of the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. However, the extent of this, and the rate, is … Read more
Asked by Frank When snow falls on glaciers, it forms layers. Older snow becomes compressed by the weight of new snow on top of it. This is called firn. Gradually, more and more snow falls on top of this firn, compressing it further. This eventually becomes glacier ice. The crystal is changed, and glacier ice … Read more
Asked by Alan This is a very interesting question and the subject of much ongoing research. The current hypothesis is that most major ice sheets had lakes beneath them, and current work is attempting to find evidence of these in the geological record, for example, underneath the last British-Irish Ice Sheet. In terms of smaller … Read more
Asked by Norma Surge-type glaciers are characterised by flow instabilities, with periods of fast flow followed by long quiescent periods. They are slow moving during their quiescent phases, when they thin and melt in their lower reaches, but accumulate snow and ice in their upper parts. The surge typically lasts 1-10 years, with quiescent phases … Read more
Asked by Clare As glaciers flow over soft sediments, the movement of the ice above results in the sediments below being ground down and dragged along the direction of flow. See Glacial Processes for more information.
Asked by Clare Glaciers incorporate rocks and sediments into their basal ice layers as they flow over the ground. At the end of the glacier, this sediment is deposited by the constantly moving ice. See Glacial Landforms for more information.