Although glaciers are large slow and eroding, they provide a few useful contributions to people:
Glaciers Provide Drinking Water
People living in the city of La Paz, Bolivia, rely on
glacial melting from a nearby ice cap to provide water during
Although parts of Japan receive tremendous amounts of
snow, there are no glaciers. Because the Japanese must endure
Glaciers Irrigate Crops
Over a thousand years ago, farmers in Asia knew that
dark colors absorb the solar energy. So, they spread
In Switzerland's Rhone Valley, farmers have irrigated
their crops for hundreds of years, by channeling meltwater from
Glaciers Help Generate Hydroelectric Power
Scientists and engineers in Norway, Canada, New Zealand
and the Alps have worked together to tap into glacial
Usually, glaciers are found in remote areas but some are located nera cities and towns and can present a danger to the people living there. On land, lakes formed on top of a glacier during the melt season might cause flooding. At the end of a valley glacier, ice falling from it is a hazard to the people below. Icebergs can form when the ice breaks off over the ocean and pose problems for ships. In 1941, 6,000 people in Huaraz, Peru died when a glacial lake burst open and flooded the town. Today, another lake has formed at the base of the glacier but channels have been built to prevent another flood.
Avalanches- Ice avalanches in the Swiss
Alps have continued for centuries and have defied all attempts
to stop them. "In 1965, Switzerland was constructing a dam
for a hydro-electric plant above the town of Mattmark."
Suddenly, a huge
Icebergs- Icebergs which break off from
ice shelves and tidewater glaciers are hazardous to shipping
worldwide. In April 1912, an iceberg ripped a 90 meter hole in
the hull of the Titanic and 1,503 people were killed as a result.
The sea lanes between Greenland and Newfoundland in Canada are
historically iceberg infested.
Recently, an iceberg over 80 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide broke away from the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Since this iceberg might be a threat to southern shipping lanes, it is being closely watched by satellites and airplanes.