Grand Teton National Park Glaciers

A quilt of white blankets Grand Teton National Park in the winter. As spring approaches that white blanket dwindles in size. However, even in the heat of summer, snow and ice are present in the form of glaciers and snowfields. Glaciers carry rocks, soil, sand, and other debris from higher to lower elevations. This material can be carried on the surface, inside, or even frozen to the bottom of the glacier. In this park, the glaciers are wet-based, meaning they move on a thin plane of water like an ice skater. One major feature you may see on a glacier is a crevasse.

These are deep, V-shaped structures found in the uppermost layer of the glacier. This part of the glacier breaks easily as the ice moves, causing crevasses to open and close. Glaciers have had a weighty impact on the Teton Range. Ice, over 3,000 feet thick, moved across the valley floor. Today the mottled beauty of the mountains is punctuated by a contrast of dark and light. Exposed rock lies adjacent to snow or ice. Currently there are numerous snowfields and twelve glaciers in the park. These masses of moving ice have names like Schoolroom, Teton, Middle Teton, Triple, and Skillet Glacier.

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