A glacier is a perennial mass of ice which moves over land. A glacier forms in locations where the mass accumulation of snow and ice exceeds ablation over many years. The word glacier comes from French via the Vulgar Latin glacia, and ultimately from Latin glacies meaning ice. The corresponding area of study is called glaciology.Glacier ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth.
China's glaciers are mainly located in the west and north, with a total area of 59,406 square kilometers and an ice reserve of 5,590 cubic kilometers. Most of them are in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces. They lie in the Himalayan Range, Hengduan Mountains, Kunlun Mountains and Qilian Mountains. The glaciers in these mountains have become the origins of many rivers, including the Yangtze River and Yellow River as the glaciers are melting.
The following are six beautiful glaciers for visitors to see in China:
1. Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet
The Rongbuk Glacier is located in the Himalaya of southern Tibet. Two large tributary glaciers, the East and West Rongbuk Glaciers flow into the Rongbuk Glacier. It flows north and forms the Rongbuk Valley north of Mount Everest. The famous Rongbuk Monastery is located at the northern end of the Rongbuk valley. Mount Everest is the source of the Rongbuk Glacier and East Rongbuk Glacier.
Climbing expeditions and trekking parties use this glacier to reach the Advanced Base Camp of Mount Everest at the upper end of the East Rongbuk Glacier. From there, climbing expeditions try to summit Everest by the North Col and the northeast ridge.
2. Tomur Glacier in Xinjiang
Tomur Glaciers is located in Wensu County, Akesu Region of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous, China. Tomur Peak has a height of 7,435.29 meters above sea level, making it China's largest modern glacier. The Tomur Peak is well known for spectacular and marvelous nature landscape. It was described: the rough topography, steep ridges and peak, arduous and high glaciers and the thousand feet high precipitous crags aloft hanging over the heaven.
Mount Tomur means ''iron mountain'' in Uygur.Tomur's glacier area accounts for a quarter of all the total glacier area in the Tianshan Mountains. Mount Tomur has 510 glaciers. It is not only a region where modern glaciers develop but also one of the regions where traces of ancient glaciers are well preserved. The glacier stretches upwards towards 3,800 meters altitude. In these snow-capped peak surroundings, glaciers wiggled and curved their ways on the snow mountains like flying jade dragons. Under the rays of the sun, ice peaks glistened and glaciers surged.
3. Hailuogou Glacier in Sichuan
Hailuogou Glacier lies in the southeast of Ganzi Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province, east slope of Mt. Gongga and is a skyscraping mountain in the east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.With a height of 2,850 meters above sea level, it is the lowest glacier among the glaciers of the same latitude on Earth.
Hailuogou glacier is also called No 1 Glacier. It possesses 3 steps longitudinally: first basin, the gestation place of glacier; second is icefall, 500 to 1100 meters wide and 1080 high that is the highest and grandest icefall in China; the third is glacier tongue, which extends 6 km into the forest, forming strange scene of the coexistence of forest and glacier. The activity of Hailuogou Glacier is very strong. In the movement of glacier, there forms glacier circular arch, ice cavern, glacial staircase, ice gate, ice lake and serac which are as glittering and translucent as jade and crystal.
4. Midui Glacier in Tibet
Midui Glacier is located in Yupu Township, about 100 kilometers east of the county seat of Bome. It is the lowest altitude above sea level in the world. Its altitude is from 2,400 meters to 6,800 meters.
The glacier descends through four distinctly different seasons of scenery. Here snow mountains, glaciers, forests, lakes, villages and temples coexist in harmony, creating a sequence of unique vistas: the worlds of atmosphere, of ice and snow, of rocks, of water, and of living creatures. It looks as if Nature's hand itself had taken up a brush to paint a splashed-ink landscape.
5. Telamukanli Glacier in Xinjiang
Below the Telamkanli Peak (7,441 meters) in the Karakorum Range, the Telamkanli Glacier extends for over 28 kilometers, covering an area of 124.53 meters kilometers.It is famous for its forests that look like pagoda-shaped ice. At the foot of the glacier, there are usually lakes.
The most remarkable and attractive sight on the Telamkanli Glacier is its serac forest, with pinnacles dozens of meters high. This extends for some 11 kilometers, starting at 5,200 meters above sea level and descending towards the glacier's terminus. The connecting pinnacles on the glacier join up to form magnificent ice peak after ice peak, often accompanied by crystal clear ice lakes below.
6. Touming Mengke Glacier in Gansu
The Touming Mengke Glaciers is the largest valley glacier in the Qilian Range of northwest China. Its highest peak is 5,483 meters above sea level, the lowest is 4,260 meters. It can be found in Laohu Valley on the northern slope of Daxue Mountain in Subei County. Its main peak is 5,481 meters above sea level. In Mongolian, Touming Mengke means high and vast. Glacial landforms such as ice holes, cliffs, falls and cracks can be found in the glacier.