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How are glaciers formed?

Glaciers are formed of ice crystals, snow, air, water and rock debris and will form whenever a
mass of snow accumulates over successive years, compacts, and turns to ice. This can occur in
any climatic zone in which the input of snow exceeds the rate at which it melts, but generally
glaciers are located in high mountains, high latitudes and on the western sides of continents.
Glacier ice can be defined as ice made by the recrystallization of fallen snow and refreezing of
melt water that has undergone deformation.

The inputs to the glacier system are snowfall (which is transformed to glacier ice), the potential
energy of elevation and rock debris. These inputs are cascaded or transferred from one climatic
environment to another when there is a progressive loss of mass by evaporation, melting and
deposition, and also dissipation of energy from the system as heat. The output is expressed in
terms of the modification of the drainage basin by the ice and its associated melt waters, by
either erosion or deposition. Once established, a glaciers survival will depend on the balance
between its accumulation and mass loss (ablation). This is known as the glaciers mass balance
and is controlled primarily by climate, through a chain of processes. There is a local exchange of
mass and energy at the glacier surface, the dynamic response of the glacier, which affects its net
budget and results in some enduring evidence of the position of the glacier terminus.

Ablation, by melting, will tend to dominate in the warm summer months, and accumulation in
the winter months. If the amount of ablation equals the amount of accumulation over a year then
the net balance of the glacier will be zero and its size will remain constant. On the other hand, if
there is more accumulation than ablation then the net balance will be positive and the glacier will
grow and expand. If it has a negative mass balance then the glacier will shrink rapidly and may
ultimately disappear, as is the case at present under the influence of global warming. Hence the
glacial system has two recognizable subsystems, the accumulation and ablation subsystems,
which are separated by a conceptual line (the equilibrium line). Glaciers experience changes of
input and respond to these, but there is always a lag or response time. So we can say that glaciers
are usually out of equilibrium in the short term. accessed on wed, Nov 12th

2014 at 2:07 AM

The water on the earth is recycled constantly in a process known as the hydrologic cycle. First,
the water in the oceans evaporates. It changes into vapour and forms clouds in the sky. Water
accumulates in clouds and returns to the surface of the earth in some form of precipitation, which
can be either rain, snow, or ice. When the water reaches the earths surface, it runs off into
streams, rivers, lakes, and at last, into the oceans, where the cycle begins again. The water on the
surface of the eartli and in the atmosphere is known as the hydrosphere. Not all precipitation
goes into rivers. Some of it seeps into the ground by a process called infiltration. This water
collects under the earths surface and is groundwater. Groundwater is important for two reasons.
First, 95 per cent of the earths water is in the oceans. It is salty and useless for plants, animals,
or humans. Fresh water, which people can use for drinking or for agriculture, is either on the
earths surface in lakes and rivers or underground. Surface water is .05 per cent of the earths
water while underground water is 4 per cent of the earths water. Consequently, groundwater
provides 95 per cent of the available fresh water on the earth. Second, groundwater is important
not only because of the size of the supply, but also because of its dependability. It is always
available since it does not depend on seasonal precipitation.
Today, there seems to be a problem with groundwater. Until recently, groundwater was clean. It
was not necessary to purify it before people drank it. However, for many years, people have been
burying garbage and poisonous wastes underground. These poisons have polluted the
groundwater in many places. Therefore, it is unsafe for human use unless the dirty and harmful
substances are removed first.

Aquifers are geologic formations that allow groundwater to accumulate and move through them.
Although they are often called underground rivers, these formations are not like surface rivers.
The water accumulates in one area underground. The amount of water an aquifer contains is
enough to be easily pumped out for use. People have been using groundwater for many years.
With an increasing population, the need for water has also increased. Some cities depend only on
groundwater for their water supply. They are using underground water very quickly. In some
places the water supply may soon be used up, and there will be no water for a large population.
One example of this is Tucson, Arizona, which is located in the Sonora desert in southwestern
United States. It is on a very large aquifer which supplies water for the area at the present. The
aquifer provides water for an increasing population in the city and for agriculture throughout
southern Arizona. At the present time, the city is using 225,000 acre feet of water per year,
75,000 acre feet are being returned to the aquifer through the natural processes of the hydrologic
cycle. Therefore, people are using about three times more water than nature is supplying. The
water table, which is the level of the water in the aquifer, is dropping lower every year. Some
wells have already gone dry and have either been closed or drilled deeper. Scientists predict that
the supply of water in the aquifer will run out in twenty to eighty years.

Aquifers contain a generous supply of water. They are large, easily available, and mostly clean.
Still, people who depend only on aquifers for their water supply must use their water carefully.
Their lives and 60 their childrens lives depend on conserving the water they have. accessed on wed, Nov 12th 2014 at 2:02 AM