Glaciers are immense bodies of ice that constantly collapse under their own weight and hence take on different forms and shapes. They were formed in a process of many years, more often than not multiple centuries.
Most of these amazing feats of nature can be found in Pakistan as the country is home to over 7,000 famous glaciers of the estimated 198,000-200,000 glaciers on the planet.
In this article, you’ll be able to discover some of the most astounding glaciers in the world (in no particular order), so let’s get to it!
1. Fox Glacier – New Zealand
Fox Glacier, also known as “Te Moeka o Tuawe,” is an enormous temperate maritime glacier on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. It’s situated in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park and has a total length of about 13 kilometers (8.1 miles).
One of the most remarkable facts about the Fox Glacier is that it’s one of the easiest glaciers in the world to visit as it literally ends just 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level. This makes the glacier one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand.
2. Baltoro Glacier – Pakistan
The Baltoro Glacier is one of the most famous glaciers in the world as it’s situated in one of the highest mountain ranges on the planet, the Karakoram Range in the Himalayas. This range is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, including the second-highest mountain K2.
It’s also one of the longest glaciers in the world outside of the Polar regions with a length of 63 kilometers (39 miles). Multiple smaller glaciers feed it, including the Godwin Austen Glacier which flows down K2 in a southward direction.
3. Jostedalsbreen – Norway
Jostedalsbreen or the “Jostedal Glacier” is the biggest in continental Europe and is situated in the Vestland county in southwestern Norway. It’s huge as it covers a total area of 487 square kilometers (188 square miles).
This highest point of the glacier is located at a height of 1,957 meters (6,421 feet) and the final branches of the glacier are situated at just 300 meters (980 feet) above sea level. This makes it another natural landmark that is easily accessible to tourists.
4. Hubbard Glacier – the United States / Canada
Hubbard Glacier is another enormous glacier that is located in two different countries. It’s situated in both the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve in eastern Alaska, United States, and Kluane National Park and Reserve in Yukon, Canada.
It’s one of those ice masses that continues to push forward and has been doing so for well over a century. The ice at the bottom of the glacier has pushed forward about 400 years, which means that it’s over 4 centuries old.
5. Siachen Glacier – India / Pakistan
The Siachen Glacier is another glacier located in the Karakoram Mountain Range and is located right on the border of Pakistan and India. Even though it’s administered by India, it’s also claimed by Pakistan.
This glacier is even longer than the Baltoro Glacier as it’s the second-longest glacier outside of the Polar regions on the planet with a length of 76 kilometers (47 miles). Because of the extreme glaciation of this region, it’s sometimes referred to as the “Third Pole.”
6. Aletsch Glacier – Switzerland
The Aletsch Glacier is the most fascinating in the Alps, and also the longest one. It has a total length of about 23 kilometers (14 miles) and is situated in the eastern Bernese Alps in the Valois Canton in Switzerland.
Even though it’s still the longest glacier in the Alps today, it’s retreating quickly and has lost well over 1.3 kilometers (0.81 miles) of its length since the 1980s, and well over 300 meters (980 feet) of its thickness as well.
7. Franz Josef Glacier – New Zeland
Franz Josef Glacier is another glacier located on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island and inside Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Together with the Fox glacier, it’s one of the main attractions in this part of the country.
It has a total length of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles), which is quite a bit shorter than its bigger brother, but it’s most certainly equally impressive. It also ends at a height of about 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level which makes it extremely easy to access.
8. Perito Moreno Glacier – Argentina
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most famous glaciers in Argentina and is located in the Andes Mountains in the southwest Santa Cruz Province of the country. It’s fed by the third-largest reserve of fresh water on the planet called the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
The glacier has a total length of 30 kilometers (19 miles) and covers an area of about 250 square kilometers (97 square miles). The end of the glacier is quite spectacular as it empties into “Lago Argentina,” one of the most fascinating lakes in Argentina.
9. Vatnajökull – Iceland
Vatnajökull literally translates to “Glacier of Lakes” and is the largest and most famous glacier in Iceland. It’s the second-largest ice cap in Europe as it covers an area of 7,900 square kilometers (3,100 square miles).
One of the most remarkable facts about Vatnajökull is that it covers large parts of the southeastern corner of Iceland and about 8% of the country’s total landmass. About 30 separate glaciers are flowing out of this massive ice cap.
10. Furtwängler Glacier – Tanzania
Furtwängler Glacier is a glacier which is situated near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa located in Tanzania. It’s the final remnant of a much larger ice cap as only 15% of the ice remains today since the early 20th century.
The future doesn’t look too good for this remarkable piece of nature as it’s estimated that it’s very unlikely that any ice will remain here after the year 2060. Today, less than 11,000 square meters (120,000 square feet) of ice remains.
11. Mendenhall Glacier – United States
Mendenhall Glacier is a glacier located in Mendenhall Valley just 19 kilometers (12 miles) away from downtown Juneau, the capital city of the U.S. state of Alaska. This is in the utmost southeastern corner of the state in the so-called Alaskan panhandle.
The glacier has a total length of 21.9 kilometers (13.6 miles) and is the centerpiece of a protected area referred to as the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. It’s one of many glaciers in the world that is slowly but surely retreating.
12. Athabasca Glacier – Canada
The Athabasca Glacier is one of the main glacier terminus areas of the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in North America situated in the Canadian Rockies in the Canadian province of Alberta.
It’s one of the smaller glaciers as it only has a length of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) and it’s retreating at a pace of about 5 meters (16 feet) per year. Regardless, it offers spectacular views from the nearby road and is a popular tourist attraction in the region.
13. Pasterze Glacier – Austria
The Pasterze Glacier is the longest in Austria with a length of 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles). This makes it also the longest glacier in the Eastern Alps, even though it’s retreating at a pace of 10 meters (33 feet) per year.
The glacier is situated in a section of the Alps referred to as the “Glockner Group,” and directly below the highest mountain in Austria, the “Grossglockner.” This provides one of the most fascinating landscapes on the planet!
14. Mer de Glace – France
The Mer de Glace is located on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc Massif which was named after the highest mountain in Western Europe. It’s situated right above the Chamonix Valley.
All sections of the glacier combined result in a total length of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) which makes it the second-longest glacier in Europe following the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland.