Glaciers are an integral part of the world’s climate. In fact, as Richard Armstrong of the University of Colorado says, “Glaciers are key indicators in monitoring and detecting climate change” (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, 2003, p. 1). Not only are they an important part of monitoring current climate, they can hold many keys to the past. Glaciers are in fact, “a source of paleoclimate data…” (Meier and Dyurgerov, 1980, p. 37). This paleoclimate data can give geologists information on the conditions that were present at the time of the glaciers birth, as well as the approximate age. This has an important role in the geologic time scale of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. These Glaciers played a role in the carving of the present day Rocky Mountains in Colorado, which will be the primary focus of this paper. In addition, glacial formations will be discussed to give the reader background information and the future of the Glaciers in Colorado will close this paper.
GLACIER FORMATION AND TYPES
A good description of a glacier is given by Jim Wickwire in his book “Addicted to Danger.” In it he says, “A glacier is not a fixed, solid thing. It flows like a river, with currents, some parts smooth, others rough” (Wickwire, 1998, p. 1). This happens to go along with Webster’s definition, in that a glacier must be moving, either because of gravity or because it’s spreading out underneath itself due to additional accumulations. (Meeriam-Webster, 2000, p. 493).
Glaciers can be classified into many categories. First they are divided into either Alpine or Continental. Alpine glaciers are those that are found in mountainous regions and Continental, such as Greenland,...
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...K.W. Porter: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists, Denver, CO, p. 165-173.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th Ed): 2000, Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, Springfield, Massachusetts, p 493.
Plummer, C.C., McGeary, D., and Carlson, D.H., 2003, Physical geology (10th Ed.): McGraw-Hill, Boston, 580 p.
Ŝibrava, V., Bowmen, D.Q., and Richmond, G.M, 1986, Quaternary glaciations in the northern hemisphere; report of the International Geological Correlation Programme, Project 24 (International Union of Geological Sciences and UNESCO): Pergamon Press, Oxford, New York, 514 p.
University of Colorado, Boulder, August 11, 2003, NASA funds Colorado University at Boulder study of changes in Earth’s glacier systems in Ascribe Science News Service: pNa, p 1.
Wickwire, J., and Bullitt, D., 1998, Addicted to danger: Pocket Books, New York, 332 p.
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