Essay on The Glaciers of Yosemite National Park

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The Glaciers of Yosemite National Park

One of nature's most powerful and influential forces is also one of nature's coldest and slowest processes. These great icy rivers are called glaciers and have formed some of the most beautiful scenery on this planet. These enormous frozen bodies of water are often thousands of feet wide and deep and many miles long. They cover millions of acres of land and drastically change the land into beautiful mountains with many amazing features. One of the areas where glaciers have been most influential is in Yosemite National Park in California. Here almost every glacial feature is shown. However, before this information about glaciers in Yosemite was clear, there was the Yosemite Controversy with
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(Muir, 1880, P. 557)

A glacier occurs when the climate of an area is so cold that new snow does not completely melt each summer and more snow is added in the winter. After many winters the accumulation of this snow becomes compact and re-crystallizes, thus forming a glacier. Currently, glaciers cover about ten percent of the Earth's surface. Yet, in the past, glaciers covered much more land and were thousands of meters thick. (Tierney)

Glaciers take part in two of the Earth's cycles hydrology and the rock cycle. When precipitation falls at high attitudes where glaciers exist, the rain or snow becomes a part of the glacier and may be stored in the glacier for up to thousands of years. Glaciers move very slow but are very important in erosion of rocks. (Lutgens & Tarbuck)

There are different types of glaciers that exist. Valley or alpine glaciers exist in mountain valleys. They occupy the space where a stream once was and become a glacial stream flowing down the valley. Ice sheets are a very different type of glacier. They are much larger and are at times referred to as continental ice sheets. They flow in all directions and cover the land they are on. An ice cap is another kind of glacier that covers the uplands and plateaus. They cover the surface they are on totally, but are smaller than ice sheets. The final type of glacier is a piedmont glacier. These cover the land at the bases of mountains and
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