Glacier vs Iceberg: Difference and Comparison

Earth comprises almost 70% of the water necessary for living. Moreover, more than 60% of water consists of huge concentrations of ice known as glaciers and Icebergs.

The majority of the glaciers and icebergs are found in Greenland and Antarctica.

Glaciers and Icebergs may seem similar in many aspects, such as physical appearance and origin, yet they are extremely different too.

Key Takeaways

  1. Glaciers are massive, slow-moving bodies of ice on land, while icebergs are large chunks of ice that have broken off glaciers and float in open water.
  2. Glaciers form through the accumulation and compaction of snow over time, while icebergs result from the calving process of glaciers.
  3. Glaciers contribute to sea level rise through melting, while icebergs impact global sea levels only indirectly by increasing the rate of glacier calving.

Glacier vs Iceberg

A glacier is a large mass of ice that forms over many years in areas where more snow falls in the winter than melts in the summer. Glaciers can be found in mountain ranges or near the poles. An iceberg is a large piece of ice that has broken off from a glacier or ice shelf and drifted into open water. Icebergs can be found in areas such as the North Atlantic.

Glacier vs Iceberg

Glacier is formulated by a huge stack of fallen snow that has been accumulated on land for thousands of years. Glacier gets bigger with time.

It eventually grows bigger due to the accumulation of fallen snow at a specific place for many years. Moreover, it is found that Glacier has the potential to move around.

Iceberg is assembled by an enormous concentration of ice floating in the water. Most of the icebergs originated from the broken parts of glaciers caused by any destruction flowing in water.

Iceberg does not remain for a long period as it melts away in water with time. Moreover, Iceberg is found at high altitudes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGlacierIceberg
Definition Glacier is formed by huge blocks of fallen snow that have been accumulated over thousands of years on land.Iceberg is formed by an enormous concentration of ice floating in the water.
FormationThe glacier is formulated from fallen snow.Icebergs are formulated from broken parts of glaciers.
Origin Glacier is mostly found in high-altitude land regions of Greenland and Antarctica. Icebergs are mostly found in high-altitude water regions of Greenland and Antarctica.
SizeGlacier gets bigger with time and is enormous.Iceberg does not get bigger with time and are smaller in size.
ViewGlaciers are completely observable from top to bottom.Icebergs are not completely observable from top to bottom as they are submerged in water.

What is Glacier?

The glacier is a huge heap of moving ice that lies on the surface of the Earth and flows down towards the mountain shields due to its enormous weight.

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Glaciers are originated where an immense amount of snowfall occurs every year. Moreover, due to these enormous amounts of snowfall, pressure is created on the layers of the earth resulting in huge stacks of ice.

Glacier is mostly found in high-altitude regions of Greenland, Antarctica, and the arctic regions of Canada. However, the glaciers found in non-high altitude regions are known as alpine Glaciers.

These immense amounts of snowfall flow on the slopes of mountains and lands are investigated as Glaciers are the largest waterbody reservoir on earth.

Glaciers get larger with time as there is a continuous accumulation of snowfall for years. Moreover, Glaciers are completely noticeable from top to bottom as it lies on the surface of the earth.

The climatic effect on Glaciers has a severe impact on sea-level changes.

The water obtained from Glacier is not completely safe for drinking purposes as it contains chemical organic and inorganic pollutant materials, dead animals, birds, human being’s bodies, insects, and other waste materials decomposed for years. However, it is used by mountain climbers for drinking and cleaning purposes.

glacier

What is Iceberg?

Iceberg is a cosmic stack of moving ice that floats on the water bodies found in high-altitude regions of Greenland and Antarctica.

These cosmic stacks of moving ice from Glaciers break off from high-altitude regions to move towards warmer lower-altitude regions and stay submerged in water until it is completely melted.

Iceberg does not get bigger with time. Moreover, Icebergs are not completely noticeable from top to bottom as only 20% are observable, and the rest 80% of the Icebergs cannot be observed as it is submerged in water.

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Iceberg only lasts up to 2 to 4 years, and it’s rare to see Iceberg that lasts more than 2 to 4 years as it melts away rapidly.

Iceberg has the potential to move around in water bodies due to the effects of wind currents. Icebergs originated from the broken parts of Glaciers and are in various shapes, varying from flats to domes.

Moreover, Icebergs frequently get stuck in nearby islands, causing great concern for the wildlife living in the nearby areas.

Icebergs are a great cause of concern as they lie on the water bodies such as oceans, affecting wildlife, oceanic plankton and the ships travelling through the ocean.

iceberg

Main Differences Between Glacier and Iceberg 

  1. Glacier is formulated by a huge stack of fallen snow that has been accumulated on land for thousands of years, whereas Iceberg is formulated by an enormous concentration of ice floating in the water.
  2. Glaciers are not seen in dissimilar shapes, whereas Icebergs can be seen in numerous shapes.
  3. Glaciers are positioned on the land, whereas Icebergs flow in water bodies.
  4. Glacier gets bigger with time, whereas Iceberg does not get bigger.
  5. Glaciers are formed from fallen snow, whereas Iceberg is formulated from the broken parts of Glaciers.
  6. Glaciers are completely observable from top to bottom, whereas Icebergs are not completely observable from top to bottom.
Difference Between Glacier and Iceberg
References
  1. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology/article/characterization-and-flexural-strength-of-iceberg-and-glacier-ice/BBAA52ED4E7B733E2F87FF583083A990
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-glaciology/article/description-of-the-iceberg-aircraft-carrier-and-the-bearing-of-the-mechanical-properties-of-frozen-log-pulp-upon-some-problems-of-glacier-run/BE12BCCE68FE5D9C307299A2F1F2DFC6
  3. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/annals-of-glaciology/article/iceberg-properties-and-distributions-in-three-greenlandic-fjords-using-satellite-imagery/A9696493A23345C13DD36E378300A264

Last Updated : 04 August, 2023

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24 thoughts on “Glacier vs Iceberg: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The distinction between glaciers and icebergs, along with their environmental impacts, is elucidated exceptionally well. The comparison table is particularly insightful.

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      Reply
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  2. The detailed comparison between glaciers and icebergs provides valuable insights into their unique characteristics and their roles in the Earth’s ecosystems.

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  3. The article delivers a comprehensive understanding of glaciers and icebergs, highlighting their differences and environmental significance. The comparison table is particularly informative.

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  5. The article effectively distinguishes between glaciers and icebergs, offering valuable insights into their formation, size, and environmental implications. It’s an enlightening read.

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  6. The thorough comparison between glaciers and icebergs sheds light on the fundamental distinctions between the two. It’s crucial to comprehend their environmental roles.

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  10. The difference between glaciers and icebergs has been really well explained. It’s fascinating to know that glaciers move due to gravity and the icebergs don’t really grow in size over time.

    Reply
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      Reply
    • Yes, it’s interesting to learn about the physical and environmental differences between glaciers and icebergs. They play different roles in the Earth’s ecosystems.

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