Monday, 22 November 2010

Top 10 Incredible Glaciers

Want to try something different for your next adventure? You should definitely consider hiking some of the world's most beautiful glaciers. There are opportunities for beginners, and the more experienced hikers can even try ice climbing on the glacier's walls. Exploring the landscape from an helicopter is also another option. From the countless glaciers in Antarctica to the more famous on Mount Kilimanjaro, each and every one will offer you a unique experience.

10. Baltoro Glacier

Baltoro Glacier 01

With a length of 62 kilometers, Baltoro is the longest glacier outside the polar regions. It is located in Baltistan, in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The glacier has carved striations on the surrounding country rocks. The highest mountain in the area is K2 (8,611 meters; 28,251 feet).

9. Antarctica's Glaciers

Antarctica's Glaciers 01

Antarctica is home to numerous glaciers and is a popular destination, with the number of tourists increasing to 35,000 per year. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators was formed in 1991 with the purpose of establishing guidelines for responsible tourism to Antarctica.

8. Glaciers of Kilimanjaro

Glaciers of Kilimanjaro 01

They are still an amazing site and many people adventure on Kilimanjaro to admire them, despite the fact they have lost more than 80% of their surface in the last century. According to the last predictions, scientists say these glaciers will disappear completely sometime around the 2020s. Furtwängler Glacier is the most notable of these disappearing glaciers.

7. Aletsch Glacier

Aletsch Glacier 02

The largest glacier in the Alps, with a length of 23 kilometers and an area of 120 square kilometers. Aletsch is formed by three smaller glaciers, united at Concordia, a large flat area of snow and ice. Here, the ice thickness is estimated to be near one kilometer. The whole area, including other glaciers is part of the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.

6. Harker Glacier

Harker Glacier 01

First mapped by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-1904), the glacier was remapped in 1912 by David Ferguson and was renamed after Alfred Harker (1859-1939), an English geologist. Because of global warming, Hawker has over the decades advanced further into the bay, but still, it is the most impressive and grand glacier on the eastern side of Cumberland Bay.

5. Jostedalsbreen Glacier

Jostedalsbreen Glacier 01

Measuring more than 60 kilometers in length, this is the largest glacier in continental Europe. It is located in the south of Norway and is part of Jostedalsbreen National Glacier Park, covering almost 50% of the park's surface. Jostedalsbreen has a total area of 487 km² and the thickest part measures 600 meters.

Unfortunately, just as other glaciers, this one too is slowly retreating. In 2006 one of the glacier's branches lost 50 meters of ice in a few months and could be in danger of breaking away from the icefield. Ice climbing has now been terminated because of this.

4. Vatnajökull Glacier

Vatnajökull Glacier 01

The largest glacier in Iceland, covering 8% of the country's territory. It is located in the south-east of the island and has an area of 8,100 km². It is the largest ice cap in Europe by volume (3,100 km³) and as most of the glaciers in Iceland, it has volcanoes under the ice cap. In the glacier's cave, tourists can also admire hot springs.

According to Guinness World Records, Vatnajökull is the object of the world's longest sight line. The glacier can sometimes bee seen from the highest mountain on the Faroe Islands, 550 kilometers (340 miles) away.

3. Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier 01

Located between Alaska and Yukon Bay in Canada, Hubbard is one of the largest glaciers in the world. It stretches 7.5 miles in length and moves as fast as 100 feet per day. It is also the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It has been advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska since it was first mapped 1895. Huge chunks of ice crash into Yukon Bay creating a thunder like sound called 'white thunder'.

2. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

These sibling glaciers have a unique feature as they extend down the mountain into a rainforest. Because of the heavy precipitations in the area, they are rapidly advancing. Tourists can explore the glaciers by helicopter tours or by foot. There are many tunnels and crevasses which make the 'by foot' experience very rewarding.

1. Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier 01

The glacier is situated in Patagonia and is the only glacier from the region which is not retreating, even more, it's increasing in size, despite of the effects of global warming. It was named after Francisco Moreno, who studied the region in the 19th century. It has a length of more than 30 kilometers and it is the third largest source of fresh water in the world.

Large pieces of ice break and plum in Lake Argentino on average about every four to five years. The last rupture was in July 2008 and the first one in 1917, taking with it an ancient forest of arrayán trees. The 250 km² (97 sq miles) ice formation is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Argentine Patagonia. Daily tours are available from El Calafate and a visitor centre at the site offers different circuits: mini-trekking (about an hour and a half) and a five hour tour.

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