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Top 6 Glaciers in China with Google Earth Links

Jun 14, 2009

@Flickr: 1. Steynard | 3. yanyin | 4. reurinkjan | 6. contrast

A glacier is a large mass of ice moving slowly over some land surface or down a valley, formed over long periods from the accumulation of snow in areas where the amount of snow that falls exceeds the amount that melts. — wikipedia

No matter you believe “global warming” or not, you cannot just ignore the fact that all the permanent ice on earth are receding at a historically high speed, in Arctic, Antarctic, as well as the alpine glaciers on the high mountains.

Given Tibetan plateau as the roof and third pole of planet earth, China has great resources of high mountains in the west. These high mountains then create the most magnificent mountain glaciers in the world.

In this post, I will introduce the top 6 most beautiful glaciers in China with Google Earth links. And this time, I suggest you try tilted view in which you will feel the power of these glaciers.

You can view all these glaciers in Google Earth here (KMZ file).

Top 6 Glaciers in China with Google Earth Links

1. Rongbuk Glacier 绒布冰川 – Farewell to the highest peak on earth

Google Earth | Wiki | location: Tibet

Highest mountain has the best glacier. Rongbuk glacier belongs to Mount Qomolangma (Mt. Everest), the highest peak on earth. Every year, hundreds of climbers start their trips to the 8848m point from the base camp at Rongbuk Glacier. The world’s highest temple – Rongbuk Temple – is located in this valley.

Rongbuk Glacier is 22km long, 14km wide on average, covering an area of 87 km2. It is famous for its extraordinary ice forest: serac, ice bridge, ice pillar, etc., one of world’s most spectacular ice formations.

2. Tomur Glacier 托木尔冰川 – Courtesy from the snowy peak to the desert

Google Earth | Wiki | location: Xinjiang

Mount Tomur (Jengish Chokusu) is the highest peak (7435m) of Tian-Shan mountain range. It has a total storage of 350 billion square meters of ice, which is the most in China and more than the summary of Qilian Shan region and Qomolangma region.

Tomur glacier is one of its many glaciers. Here you can see very complicated thermokarst patterns in melting area. For instance, ice surface lakes with an unknown depth, hundreds-meter-deep crevasses, light blue colored ice cave, ice pillar, and underground ice rivers, etc. Large amount of water flushes out the ice caves at the end of glacier.

3. Hailuogou (conch gully) Glacier 海螺沟冰川 – Refuse to melt

Google Earth | Wiki | location: Sichuan

Hailuogou glacier is a typical low altitude temperate glacier (ocean glacier). It starts at 6750m, runs to as low as 2850m. Falling 3900 meters high from Gongga Shan (the highest of Sichuan Province), it runs like a jade dragon along the valley, then 6km deep into the forest. It forms a unique ecosystem of glacier together with forests.

Because of its low altitude and close to public transportation, Hailuogou is one of the easiest glaciers to reach for tourists. There are “three strangeness” about it: 1. Not cold. You can wear thin clothes to enjoy the glacier. 2. Icefall. As a temperate glacier, Hailuogou is very active. Big volume icefall is very common here. 3. Ice formations: You can find all sorts of ice formations here.

4. Midui Glacier 米堆冰川 – Ice and Snow in the Shangri-la

Google Earth | Wiki | location: Tibet

With its lowest point at 2400m, Midui glacier is the world’s lowest glacier. As the picture shown, it consists of two huge ice cascades, with a patch of virgin forest in between.

Mudui glacier extends to the Midui village at the mountain foot. It forms a unique scenic view with a harmonious combination of both overwhelming snow peak glacier and poem-like gentle rurality.

5. Teram Kangri Glacier 特拉木坎力冰川 – Carnival of ice sculpture

Google Earth | Wiki | location: Xinjiang

Located at Karakoram mountain range, Teram Kangri glacier is famous for its tall seracs, and deep crevasses. On the other side of Teram Kangri peak, there is the world’s largest alpine glacier and the world’s highest battlefield: Siachen Glacier.

6. TouMingMengKe Glacier 透明梦柯冰川 – A sweet spring in the desert

Google Earth | Wiki | location: Gansu

With an average 3-6 degree slope, Toumingmengke glacier is one of the safest glaciers. As the largest glacier in Qilian Shan region, it has a vast smooth area of accumulated firn. It’s very sturdy, stable, safe and easy for climbers, and more importantly it has no avalanche.

[Scenic Splendor of China Series]
This is one post of the Scenic Splendor of China Series. In 2005.10, Chinese National Geography (CNG) selected 114 “most beautiful places” covering 17 different types of scenic patterns. The complete list is here. In Chinese. These scenic places will be covered individually in future.

[Chinese Keywords]
中国最美的地方 冰川

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