Glaciers: From the Pleistocene to the Present
Glaciers are large, slowly-moving masses of ice that have been shaping the Earth’s surface for thousands of years. During the Pleistocene Epoch, also known as the Ice Age, glaciers covered much of the Northern Hemisphere. At the time, glaciers could be found as far south as present-day Ohio and Virginia in the United States (Cohen & Gibbard, 2016). However, since the end of the Pleistocene, the global climate has warmed and the world’s glaciers have been retreating. Today, glaciers are largely concentrated in the polar regions, mountain ranges, and high latitudes, including Alaska and Canada (Anderson & Anderson, 2018). The presence of glaciers can have a profound effect on the landscape. Glaciers are responsible for the formation of large bodies of water such as lakes, as well as the creation of landforms like moraines, which are deposits of sediment left behind by a retreating glacier (Antevs, 2021). Glaciers can also be responsible for carving out deep valleys, such as the U-shaped valleys of the Rocky Mountains, as well as for eroding and grinding away at surrounding rocks. Cont…
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