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Chile creates national park to save glaciers

Published: 14th Mar, 2022


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 Park to 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.

About glaciers:

  • 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.

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