Life Cycle of a Glacier

  • By Rick Groleau
  • Posted 02.11.03
  • NOVA

The life of a glacier couldn't be more straightforward, right? Snow accumulates at the high end of a glacier, and the ice that the snow turns into flows downhill until it melts, evaporates, or falls into the sea. Well, it turns out that a biography of your average glacier is more eventful than that, as you'll discover when you follow the journey of a single snowflake as it takes a ride through a glacier, a process that can take as long as 30,000 years to complete.

Launch Interactive

Follow the adventures of a snowflake as it takes up residence in a glacier and goes for a prolonged ride.

This feature originally appeared on the site for the NOVA program Mountain of Ice.



© WGBH Educational Foundation

Related Links

  • If Polar Ice Vanished

    See what would happen to the world's coastlines if Greenland's or Antarctica's ice melted completely away.

  • Fastest Glacier

    A glacier moving way too fast reveals how unpredictable the effects of global warming can be.

  • Glacier Hazards From Space

    View satellite images of glaciers that have wreaked havoc—or might soon.

  • Profile: Adrienne Block

    Adrienne Block studies global warming in Antarctica. She can also play "Bohemian Rhapsody" on her bassoon.


You need the Flash Player plug-in to view this content.