Carving a Path through the Mountains


Oceans are not the only form of water that can shape the Earth and the way we see it. Ice from the glaciers high up on the mountains also has a large effect on the environment around them. During the summer months, glaciers begin to melt and recede then during the winter months they re-freeze and grow again. This constant melting and freezing heavily erode the mountain underneath. Because of this constant erosion, when glaciers begin to retreat they leave behind deep valleys between the mountains. If these valleys reach the ocean they can become fjords. Ice and glaciers also helped to majorly shape the Earth during the last ice age as the eventual retreat of the glaciers to the mountain tops eroded away much of the land and formed the majority of the lakes we have in Canada.

Lake Louise in Alberta, with a glacier in the distance.

A fjord in Newfoundland carved out by the retreat of a glacier long ago.


Ask yourself these questions:

1. What other ways could glaciers shape the land?

2. What sort of habitats can glaciers provide by eroding the Earth?

3. What impact could glaciers have on the oceans?

These questions, along with any other thoughts you have about glaciers and their effect on the Earth, can be written in a discussion post to share with others!

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