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Rock glaciers

In the mountains, also in our Alps, in detrital screes at higher altitudes, it usually can be observed that part of the debris seems to flow in large tongues along the mountain sides and canyons. These are the “rock glaciers”:…

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Speleologists in the ice

The fascination of the glacial caves inspired an explorer to write, “ The shapes of glacial caves are spectacular: smooth, translucid, blue-veined walls in which water cuts blades like enormous organ pipes, shafts that seem to have been shaped by…

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City of ice

The Marmolada glacier in the Dolomites has become famous, notwithstanding its small size, due to a historical fact, that pointed out its rather  particular anthropical use. During World War I, the area of the Marmolada  was a battlefield for Italian…

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Ephemeral lakes

Even big lakes can form on the surface, inside or at the contact with a glacier. Due to the ice movement these lakes are ephemeral, their life is short and normally their existence comes to a sudden end when the…

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Glacial surges

Some glaciers are subject to sudden “expansions” called surges: suddenly, without warning and with incredible rapidity, the speed of the glacier increases and the front advances by several metres or hundreds of metres, inexorably burying and destroying  whatever comes in…

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Glacier lake outburst floods

Glacier floods, also known with the Icelandic term, jökulhlaup, are sudden outbursts of enormous quantities of water from within the glacier. These are impressive phenomena because of the volume of water involved and because of the violence with which it…

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How to become a glaciologist

A glaciologist is a researcher who studies ice and glaciers: this study can consider different aspects, such as the movement of the glacier, the reaction of ice to different physical conditions, the response to meteorological events, circulation of water within…

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Ice and fire

Iceland is characterized by numerous ice-sheets, among which the vast  Vatnajökull (jökull  means glacier in Icelandic); with a surface area of  8,300 km2, is the largest in Europe. Glaciers are resting on basalt plateaux formed by a number of volcanoes…

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Water as a percentage

Only 3% of total water reserves is made up of fresh water, and only 30% of it can be found in liquid state. 98% of water in liquid state is underground and can only be partially reached. Oceans and seas,…

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