Juan José Romero Martínez
Lic. Ciencias Ambientales
Have you seen snowy mountains in Mexico?
Pay attention to them because some of them have glaciers.
A glacier is a mass of ice that originates from the earth’s surface when snow accumulates, compacts, and crystallizes in an area that has a very low temperature, really low that it prevents snow from melting. In the case of Mexico, these temperatures are reached in places that are 5200 meters above sea level.
In Mexico, several snow-capped peaks are identified, but only 3 of them are glaciers and curiously, all of them are in the transverse volcanic system: The Iztaccíhuatl or Sleeping Woman, which is 5240 meters above sea level,
Last but not least, we have the Citlaltépetl “Star hill”, also known as the Pico de Orizaba; Of the three glaciers, this is the one located at a higher altitude, it is located at 5679 meters above sea level.
Glaciers not only create beautiful views, but they are also an important source of water for the region where they are located, as they feed many basins and favor the availability of water for the forest and for agriculture in the lower parts when there is drought.
Although height and temperature are the main factors for a glacier to exist, there are other variables that we must consider. For example, a glacier can disappear when the volcano in which it is located begins to have activity, because volcanic material such as gases, magma, and ashes, the temperature can increase temperature and melt the glacier, in addition, when the ashes cover the ground they do not allow the glacial regeneration.
Furthermore, the increase or decrease of a glacier is linked to the global temperature trends, for example during the “Age of Ice”, glaciers were bigger and extensive. On the other hand, due to climate change and global warming, the extent of glaciers in the world is decreasing. Scientists point out that the melting rate is really high and glaciers are in danger of disappearing soon.
The threat would not only be losing the glaciers, but also by leaving the ground bare, increasing erosion, and also increasing the temperature of the mountains, changing the composition of the forests.
Thanks for the pictures to Juan José Romero Martínez