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Grey Glacier (Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile) | by James St. John
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Grey Glacier (Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile)

(photo by Kathy Stott)

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Glaciers are moving masses of ice. On Earth, glaciers are composed of water ice (H2O). In the outer Solar System, glaciers can be composed of other ices such as nitrogen (N2) and carbon monoxide (CO).

 

The two types of glaciers are alpine glaciers and continental glaciers. Alpine glaciers (also called valley glaciers) occupy valleys in mountainous areas. Continental glaciers are extensive ice sheets that cover large portions of continental crust. Two continental glaciers exist on modern Earth - the Greenland Ice Sheet, near the North Pole, and the Antarctic Ice Sheet, at the South Pole. During the Pleistocene Ice Age, the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered much of North America (all of Canada, parts of Alaska, and parts of northern America).

 

Shown here is the terminus of a South American alpine glacier in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field of Chile. The body of water in the bottom foreground is Grey Lake.

 

Locality: Grey Glacier, eastern side of the southern part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Torres del Paine National Park (Blue Towers National Park), far-southern Chile, far-southern South America (vicinity of 50° 59' 51.82" South latitude, 73° 13' 56.82" West longitude)

 

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Taken on October 29, 2008