Chile recently created a vast national park to protect hundreds of glaciers that are melting owing to climate change.
About the Santiago Glaciers National Park:
The creation of Santiago Glaciers National Parkto protect 46 percent of the ice contained in the Andes area of the Santiago Metropolitan Region.
The objective is to advance the protection of about 75,000 hectares, which contain glaciers holding 56 percent of the water in the Metropolitan Region.
The new park provides official protection to 368 glaciers, with 118 located in the Olivares River basin and 250 in the Colorado River basin.
Chile is among the world's top 10 countries as measured by glacier surface area, the government says. Others include Canada, the United States, China and Russia.
Glaciers are large, thick masses of ice that form on land when fallen snow gets compressed into ice over many centuries.
Presently, 10 percent of land area on Earth is covered with glacial ice, including glaciers, ice caps, and the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
Glacierized areas cover over 15 million square kilometers (5.8 million square miles).
Glaciers store about 69 percent of the world's fresh water.
Most of the world’s glaciers exist in the Polar Regions, in areas like Greenland, the Canadian Arctic, and Antarctica.
Glaciers also can be found closer to the Equator in some mountain regions.
The Andes Mountain range in South America contains some of the world’s largest tropical glaciers.
During the maximum point of the last ice age, glaciers covered about 32 percent of the total land area.
Starting around the early 14th century, and lasting to the mid-19th century, the world experienced a “Little Ice Age,” when temperatures were consistently cool enough for glaciers to advance in many areas of the world.
Glacier ice crystals can grow to be as large as baseballs.