Clas­si­fi­ca­tion

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - WEATHER DESK -

Ice comes in many forms and can be cat­e­go­rized by its size, shape and be­hav­ior. Glaciers fall into two main groups: moun­tain glaciers and ice sheets.

also known as alpine glaciers, form in high moun­tain re­gions and move down­ward through val­leys. These glaciers can range from small masses of ice to a long sys­tem fill­ing an en­tire moun­tain val­ley.

un­like moun­tain glaciers, are not lim­ited to moun­tain­ous ar­eas. They spread out from their cen­ters in all di­rec­tions. Also called con­ti­nen­tal glaciers, ice sheets are glacial bod­ies that are larger than 19,305 square miles. As they spread, they cover the land sur­round­ing them with a thick blan­ket of ice. Ice sheets cover most of Antarc­tica and Green­land. The Antarc­tic ice sheet is the largest sin­gle mass of ice on Earth and over 3 miles thick in some ar­eas.

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