30 glaciers of striking beauty around the world

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Top 30 of the world’s most picturesque glaciers

Combining freezing temperatures and precipitation, nature has created one of its most impressive art forms. From Mexico to the Himalayas, from East Africa to Patagonia, glaciers come in all shapes and colors: ice caps, ice fields, polar caps (ice sheets), ice shelves, and rivers of ice in shades of blue and white.

99% of glaciers on Earth are found in the ice sheets of the polar regions. What about the remaining 1%? They are scattered across every continent except Australia. Unfortunately, glaciers have been retreating since 1850 as a result of climate change.

Quickly! Take a photo of these 30 glaciers before they disappear…

Jakobshavn Glacier (Jakobshavn Isbræ), Greenland

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Baron Reznik

10% of Greenland’s icebergs are produced by the Jakobshavn glacier. Many icebergs like this one are of enormous proportions, reaching a kilometer in height.

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, United States

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Credit: galleryhip.com

Located near Juneau, Alaska’s capital, the Mendenhall Glacier is 19 kilometers long. Experienced mountaineers can climb into the ice caves beneath the glacier.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Trey Ratcliff

One of the most visited sites in Argentine Patagonia, the Perito Moreno glacier is just a short drive from El Calafate and is the third largest freshwater reserve in the world.

Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, USA

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Dhilung Kirat

Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier is over 43 km long and 6.5 km wide, making it the largest glacier in the USA accessible by car.

Biafo glacier, Pakistan

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Ben Tubby

Located in the mountains of Pakistan, the Biafo glacier is the third longest glacier in the world outside the polar regions, at 68 kilometers long.

Kaskawulsh Glacier, Canada

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Richard Droker

The Kaskawulsh glacier flows into Kluane Lake in the Yukon Territory, with 80% of the glacier’s melt reaching the lake. The remaining 20% flows into the Pacific Ocean via the Kaskawulsh and Alsek rivers.

Pastoruri Glacier, Peru

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Ministerio del Ambiente

The Pastoruri glacier in the Andes is popular with tourists, snowboarders and ice climbers. 22% of Peru’s glacier surface has disappeared in the last 30 years.

Glacier Grey, Chile

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – NASA Earth Observatory

Part of Patagonia’s Southern Icefield and located in Torres del Paine National Park, the Grey Glacier (seen here from space) flows into Grey Lake. The glacier is 30 metres high and six kilometers wide.

Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Alain Tougas

Vatnajökull is Iceland’s largest ice cap, covering more than 8% of the country. The average ice thickness is 400 meters.

Margerie Glacier, Alaska, USA

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Jarrod Erbe

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, Alaska’s Margerie Glacier is a 34 km-long tidewater glacier. A geological study in Glacier Bay National Park proves that the glacier contains significant copper deposits.

Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Daniel Pfund

The Aletsch glacier is the largest in the Alps, covering more than 117 km². In 2001, the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch site, which surrounds the glacier, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Eyjafjallajökull glacier, Iceland

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Sverrir Thorolfsson

Its name means « mountain glacier of the island » in Icelandic. Eyjafjallajökull is one of Iceland’s smallest ice caps, covering the caldera of a volcano (so the glacier is often covered in ash). The volcano last erupted in 2010, bringing air traffic to a standstill for several days.

Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Will Prescott

Located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on New Zealand’s South Island, Fox Glacier is fed by four alpine glaciers. Unlike most glaciers, Fox Glacier has been advancing since 1985.

Saskatchewan Glacier, Canada

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Christie

Known for its colorful blue-green glacial lakes, Alberta’s Banff National Park is home to the Sakwatchewan Glacier. The glacier is the main source of water for the North Saskatchewan River.

Midui Glacier, Tibet

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Jan Reurink

The Midui Glacier is located in Yupu Canton, Tibet. The altitude of the glacier’s main peak is over 6,700 m. It was only opened to tourists in 2007.

Glacier du Géant, France

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Masa Sakano

The Glacier du Géant is located on the French side of Mont-Blanc. The glacier feeds the Mer de Glace, France’s longest glacier.

Skaftafell glacier (Skaftafellsjökull), Iceland

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – batintherain

In Skaftafell National Park in southern Iceland, Skaftafellsjokull has retreated significantly in recent years, but remains a sight to behold. Ice caves are found here in particular.

San Rafael Glacier, Chile

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Philip Oyarzo Calisto

The San Rafael glacier in southern Chile flows over 60 meters into the San Rafael lagoon. Visitors can see it up close on a cruise, or even closer by motorized inflatable boat.

Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – August Allen

One of Antarctica’s many glaciers, Pine IslandGlacier is one of the most remote on earth. The nearest frequently occupied research station is Rothera, 1300 km away. No country lays claim to the area.

Hubbard Glacier, United States and Canada

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Hubbard Glacier is located in eastern Alaska and part of Canada’s Yukon Territory. The largest tidewater glacier in North America, Hubbard is 122 km long and 11 km wide.

Victoria Glacier, Canada

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – David Grant

Victoria Glacier sits atop Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta. The lake’s color is derived from the rock flour deposited in the lake by melting ice.

Surprise Glacier, Alaska, USA

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr –

Surprise Glacier is part of Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve. The glacier is known as an extraordinary site to witness glacier calving (loss of glacier fragments).

Snow-capped Mount Yulong, China

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Pete Robbins

Known as the « Snowy Mountain of the Jade Dragon », the Yulong Glacier reaches an altitude of 3,660 m.

Upsala Glacier, Argentina

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – David

Located in Los Glaciares National Park, the Upsala glacier is also part of Patagonia’s Southern Icefield. The glacier feeds the more famous Perito Moreno glacier.

Nigardsbreen glacier, Norway

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Guttorm Flatabo

Nigardsbreen is an arm of the much larger Jostedalsbreen glacier in Norway, located in the Jostedalsbreen National Park. Substantial ice caves lie beneath the glacier.

François-Joseph Glacier, New Zealand

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Tom Coates

Located in the same national park as Fox Glacier, François-Joseph lies 19 km further north. In recent years, it has undergone a cyclical process of glacial retreat and advance.

Baltoro Glacier, Pakistan

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Guilhem Vellut

The Baltoro glacier lies in the mountainous Baltistan region of Pakistan. The glacier flows into the Shigar River.

Pasterze Glacier, Austria

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – foto11gen

The Pasterze glacier is the longest in Austria, measuring over 8 km in length. But not for long, as the glacier shrinks in length by around 10 m every year.

Ngozumpa glacier, Nepal

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Nucksfan604

The Ngozumpa glacier is the longest in the Himalayas, resting beneath Cho Oyu (the world’s sixth-highest mountain). The slow-moving glacier is deposited in a meltwater lake known as the Spillway.

Furtwängler Glacier, Tanzania

Glaciers pittoresques à la beauté frappante dans le monde

Flickr – Gerald Davison

The Furtwängler glacier lies at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. A striking victim of climate change, the glacier is set to melt completely by 2020.