Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
A mountaineer attempts a summit in a world made of snow and ice.
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Glacial Fun Facts

Digital animation of Bear Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park

Note: This Embedded video resides on the official Alaska National Park YouTube channel

Watch the Audio Described version of this video on YouTube.

This animation uses satellite imagery and digital elevation information to create a 3-D model of the Bear Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. Created with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) animation, this video simulates what a person would see if they flew over Bear Glacier.

Now that you've seen it, want to learn more about beautiful Bear Glacier?

NPS/Kent Miller

Impress your friends with your knowledge about glaciers!

  • Glaciers form by snow falling and not melting but building up over hundreds of years. As more snow falls it squishes the snow under it and eventually packs it down so forcefully that it forms ice!

  • Glacial ice is that beautiful glowing blue color because the ice is so dense and hard that only the blue wavelength of light, the one with the most energy, can bounce off. All other wavelengths of light are absorbed by the glacier.
  • How to spot a fake glacier: If someone gives you an ice cube and says it's glacier ice, look for bubbles. A normal ice cube will have one big bubble in the center because it froze from the outside in, squeezing any air bubbles to the middle. But a genuine glacier ice cube will have lots of tiny bubbles in layers because of the years of airy snowflakes that were packed down to form it!

  • Glacier ice is very dense and melts slowly which provides water downstream all summer long. If glaciers melt so much that they disappear, no water can be frozen and stored for the summertime.

  • In Washington state, 75% of water used in agriculture and human consumption comes from glaciers!

Close up profile of a Willow Ptarmigan wearing its transitional plumage; the birds head and neck are still a reddish brown while chest and wings are turning the bight white of winter. Brown scrubby vegetation is in the background. Did You Know?
The willow ptarmigan is Alaska's state bird. It is snow-white during winter, but in early summer, it changes to chestnut brown plumage. Ptarmigan occur in treeless areas with low and scattered, brushy vegetation. Chicken, AK, was named because its residents could not spell ptarmigan.