Rocky’s glaciers were once incredibly massive. A mere glance at Moraine Park will tell you that. They’re small now; so small that only one, Andrews Glacier, is still technically a glacier. To be considered a glacier, an ice mass needs to be large enough to flow. Many of Rocky’s glaciers are not large enough to do so.

The maximum extent (light blue) and current extent (dark blue) of glaciers at Rocky.

And this is likely the future of glaciers elsewhere if warming continues. Thus, Rocky’s glaciers are especially important to research because understanding the changes that are happening and have happened to the glaciers themselves as well as to the ecosystems that they effect could help us mitigate and adapt to changes elsewhere.

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