Table of Contents
- What are glaciers?
- How are glaciers formed?
- What are ice caps, outlet glaciers and ice tongues?
- Why is glacial ice blue?
- What are the most common Glacier ice features?
- The effect of global warming on glaciers in Iceland: Are Iceland’s glaciers receding?
- Iceland’s greatest glaciers
- Which glacier is closest to Reykjavik?
- Which glacier is best in Iceland?
- Glacier Hike and glacier tours in Iceland - History
- Can you hike a glacier on your own in Iceland without a guide?
- Glacier Hike tours: What is the best glacier tour in Iceland?
- The best glacier combos in Iceland
- Your questions answered
It’s no accident Iceland is called the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’. Apart from its volcanoes - some of them topped by glaciers - 11% of the country is covered in ice caps and outlet glaciers. With these glaciers under threat, there’s no better time to come and explore these places of bewitching beauty.
Iceland is a top destination for glacier hikes, its guided tours second to none, and Icelandic Mountain Guides are world-leading experts in glacier exploration. Choose your optimal tours, and glacier hike Iceland with this ultimate guide.
What are glaciers?
Glaciers may look inactive, but in reality, they’re on the move, slowly being pulled downwards by the force of gravity. They shape mountains, carve out valleys, and shift large amounts of rock and sediment. Consisting of compacted snow compressed into ice over many centuries, glaciers are the remnants of ice sheets that covered the Earth during the Ice Age.
How are glaciers formed?
Glaciers form when more snow accumulates each year and then melts away during summer thaws. The snow builds up year after year, only the surface melting. With winter, the surface refreezes. New snow falls and buries the harder, icier snow called firn.
The process is repeated with layers of firn building on top of each other until, around 50 metres deep, the firn fuses into a solid mass. At this point, the glacier begins to move under its own weight like an extremely slow-moving river.