Learn About Icebergs

There are many natural processes that happen on Earth. One is when ice forms in cold areas. Some of that ice may eventually make icebergs. Icebergs have a couple of important purposes. Studying them can also tell scientists a lot about the environment. Here are some important things to know about icebergs.

What Are Glaciers?

To learn about icebergs, you need to learn about glaciers first. Glaciers are large areas of ice that slowly move and shift. There are glaciers in many parts of the world, but most are in Antarctica. Scientists think some of the ice there is over 1,000,000 years old. The reason most glaciers are found there is it is one of the coldest places on Earth. Snow there does not fully melt between seasons. Instead, it piles up. Then it forms glaciers, along with other parts of the environment like:

  • Water
  • Rock
  • Ice Crystals
  • Dirt

What Are Icebergs?

Icebergs are loose smaller chunks of ice that separate from glaciers. Icebergs look huge because they stick up above the surface of the ocean. In fact, Scientists have recorded information about icebergs hundreds of feet high before, but what they can see is not all there is. Icebergs are much bigger below the surface of the water. They can stretch deep down into the ocean, but they are not attached to the bottom. They float around like toys in a swimming pool. 

Are Icebergs Helpful for the Environment?

Icebergs are good for the environment. They attract and protect certain underwater creatures, like plankton. As they move through the ocean, they also mix up the water. That helps it take in more carbon dioxide from the air. By doing that, icebergs make the air safer for people and animals to breathe. You can think of them almost like taxis or floating cities for underwater life.

Do Icebergs Ever Melt?

You might wonder if icebergs ever melt. The answer is yes. They can move much faster and further than larger glaciers. As they drift around in the ocean, they often drift into warmer areas. Then they start to melt. Eventually, icebergs can melt completely when that happens. When large icebergs melt, they can raise the sea level. That means shore areas that were above water may wind up beneath the ocean’s surface.

What Can Melting Icebergs Tell Us?

Melting icebergs can help scientists understand the past. The glaciers of the world formed during an ice age many years ago. They have slowly melted over time. Scientists can study that history to understand how continents were formed and how the Earth developed. For example, many years ago, there were land bridges between some continents. Melting glaciers made the sea level rise since then, so now those bridges are not there anymore.

Melting icebergs can also teach us all about the future. Experts say more icebergs are breaking off and melting each year. It is a sign that global warming is getting worse. Everyone needs to think about global warming and caring for the environment. Otherwise, all the glaciers and icebergs in Antarctica and other parts of the world may melt someday. If that ever happened, many cities along the coasts would be flooded. The weather would also get worse all over the planet. That is why experts are working on finding ways to slow down glacier and iceberg melting.

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