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Glaciers – The Fantastic World of the Giants of Ice

Time flies like an arrow. All this started about a year ago that we have made “Water” to our No.1 topic. Do you remember our first Blog Post, back on September 16th of 2020?

Svartisen Glacier Norway (copyright GTM)

Water – the Origin of Life

“It was the Svartisen Glacier in Norway that triggered my fascination for the element water. Svartisen measures 370 square kilometres, and therefore it is the second largest glacier in Norway, located in the province of Nordland, just above the polar circle in the Saltfjellet Svartisen National Park North West of the city of Mo i Rana. It consists of a total of 60 glacier arms. Glomtal is to be found between the two main glaciers, the Eastern and Western ice.

Our honeymoon in 1996 took us to Sweden and Denmark. We were deeply impressed by its landscapes and its abundance of water. So, one year later, we decided to explore Norway. On July 17th of 1997, on a Thursday, we were driving on Road No. 17, on one of the most beautiful and scenic coastal roads in Norway, into the area of the Svartisen Glacier.”, …


We have covered an amazing variety of aspects within the last 12 months. Check it out on our website, in our News-Blog, if you wish.

Our Blog Posts serve to give our readers some insights into the critical situation of water resources on our planet, and, make us reflect upon ideas for strategies to handle water scarceness and develop progressive systems in technological fields to guarantee a more careful usage of water. We wish to inspire you for global cooperation, encourage new and innovative ways of thinking. We look forward to learn from your ideas, thoughts and suggestions. 

In today’s post we take a look back and reflect upon this initial post, dated September 16th of 2020, which was about the Svartisen Glacier in Norway.

Glaciers, Giants of Ice – Designed by Ice and Flooded by the Sea

This particular view provides a breathtaking sight: The gigantic rocks on the fjord coast of Norway rise up to a thousand meters. Here, not only the surf of the sea and the force of the breaking waves were continuously at work over thousands of centuries, but also, and above all, one phenomenal thing has manifested: ICE !

In the course of all our planet’s ice ages, whole Northern Europe lay under a huge and thick ice sheet. Giant glaciers had flown towards the Atlantic Ocean and carved deep valleys with steep walls into the subsoil. After the end of the ice ages, the sea level rose, and the water flooded the valleys of the glaciers. The famous fjords in Scandinavia, Greenland, Alaska and on the West coast of Canada had been formed as a result of this, as is visible today. The glaciers of the Ice Age also created the small islands in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland. They are all witnesses of the ice age.

After the climate warmed up, the sea flooded the channels and basins that were dug out by the melt water during the ice ages. Over time, they have become bays reaching far into the land. 

Glacier Swiss Alps
Glacier with glacial moraines in the Swiss Alps (Source: Colourbox)


On our planet Earth, warm and cold periods have alternated over the past millions of years. During the warm periods, the ice was melting and the glaciers were shrinking. On the other hand, the temperature was becoming incredibly low throughout the ice ages so that large amounts of new ice were being formed. As a result, glaciers were now able to spread over wide areas.

In those ancient times, extended areas of Northern Germany, and also the Alpine foothills, were covered by huge glaciers. The large formation of glaciers into the landscapes and up to where they extend, can still be seen today in the gravel-sized material that the glaciers left behind at that time. The debris, consisting of larger and smaller rock particles, had been carried away in the glacial ice, and, subsequently, been deposited at a place where the ice then started melting again. Whenever whole mounds of debris are being carried along and then start accumulating, we speak about moraine landscapes.

Warm Periods – Cold Periods

There had been times on Earth when large areas of land were buried and remained under a thick sheet of ice. At times, some of the ice masses even extended as far as up to the equator. Alternating with the ice ages, gigantic heat waves had gripped our planet. Throughout millions of years, Mother Earth was suffering from such an obnoxious heat so that palm trees were growing even at and around the North Pole. Later in time, palm tree DNA was retraced upon finding seeds underneath the ice layers. Ever since our Planet Earth has come into existence, ice ages and warm periods have always alternated. Thus, climate changes had occurred long before the homo sapiens started dwelling on uninhabited Mother Earth. And therefore, all those natural climate changes left their marks.

As long as it was cold, huge quantities of water remained trapped inside the ice, causing sea levels to drop. As soon as temperatures began to climb again, the ice started melting, and, as a result, sea levels were rising again. Valleys and extended dips were filled with water and then transformed into lakes and rivers.

Along with all those temperature changes, animals and plants appeared and disappeared. In particular, in the course of quite a warm epoch, there were, for example, manifold species of dinosaurs living all over our planet. When it became cooler, a large number of them died out. The mammoth, reindeer and bison were the typical animals in the last ice age. As temperatures rose, they disappeared from the scene or moved to cooler regions. Reindeers, for example, still have their homes in Northern Europe, Siberia and Canada.

Deep gorges in the mountains, wide sandy beaches by the sea and broad rivers meandering through meadows and fields… All of these are landscapes everyone knows so well.

The cycle of water is the creator of all landscapes on the entire surface of the Earth. Water washes away soil after heavy rainfall. Water burrows into the subsoil and loosens particles of the rock. These soil and rock particles are carried down into the valleys and release its load of silt, sand and debris. At high water, shallow areas of a valley are flooded and the river floodplains are formed. Here, water deposits fine silt as well. When water finally flows into the sea, various kinds of landscapes are being formed, such as cliffs and extensive sandy beaches.

Water in the form of ice is capable to shape the landscape even to a more intense degree. Whenever water freezes inside rocks, this blasts the whole stone. Water in the form of a glacier planes and shapes the moraine landscape in the foothills of the Alps.

And the Conclusion is…?

Water -H2O- is not only the most precious resource of our planet Earth.  Water is also the always reoccurring ingredient for creating our surroundings, mountains and plains, valleys and hills, rivers and lakes. And not to forget: of sheer endless  diversity regarding animal species. First and foremost, water is to ensure every living being’s existence. 


„Water, water everywhere, not any drop to drink“ (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

We should contemplate and be humble. 

We should become aware , and handle water with care.

Our GTM team wishes you all a Merry Christmas

and a Healthy and Happy 2022!

Peter Sondergaard - Iceberg turning over
Iceberg turning over