Glaciers. Growth and contraction

Why do glaciers grow and shrink?

The online glacier simulations on this page will help you to better understand the dynamics of glaciers and how they increase or decrease in size.

Glaciers are ice masses formed by the accumulation and compression of snow over long periods of time. They are a fundamental part of mountain ecosystems and play a crucial role in the global climate balance. These large expanses of ice are found mainly in polar regions and high mountains.

Glaciers form when snow accumulates faster than it melts. As more snow accumulates, pressure from the upper layers compresses the older snow, turning it into pack ice. Over time, this ice shifts under its own weight, creating a glacial flow.

Glaciers can be of two main types: valley glaciers and cap glaciers. Valley glaciers form in mountains and move along valleys, while cap glaciers are large ice masses that cover large areas and do not move significantly.

These impressive ice bodies harbor incredible biodiversity, with unique adaptations to survive in extreme conditions. Glaciers are home to diverse life forms, such as algae, lichens and small invertebrates. They also act as freshwater reservoirs, slowly releasing water into rivers and streams as they melt, which is essential for the survival of many ecosystems and human communities.

These online glacier simulations show you how a glacier really works, the one you can’t see with the naked eye. You’ll see how interesting it is!


Adjust snowfall and temperature to see how the glacier grows and contracts. Use scientific tools to measure glacier thickness, velocity and accumulation.
Screen too narrow

This Java simulation cannot run on this device because it has a screen that is too narrow. We recommend that, for a better user experience, you run it on a device with a wider screen.

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Although this Java simulation can be run on your device, we recommend that for the better user experience, you run it on a device with a wider screen.

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