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Looking for facts and information? See About the Cryosphere.
Icelights: Answers to your burning questions about ice and climate
What's hot in the news around climate and sea ice and what are scientists talking about now? Read more...
What is the Cryosphere?
When scientists talk about the cryosphere, they mean the places on Earth where water is in its solid form, frozen into ice or snow. Read more ...
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Zmutt Glacier, called Zmuttgletscher in Swiss, is situated at the base of the famous Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps at a latitude of 45.96° N and a longitude of 7.62° E. It is currently approximately 6.5 km (4 miles) long and is considered an alpine glacier since it is located at an average altitude of 2,980 meters (9,770 feet).
Zmutt glacier has receded approximately 2 km since measurements were first recorded in 1850. Many glaciers in Switzerland are melting. "Research using satellite images by the University of Zürich indicates that Switzerland's glaciers lost 18 percent of their surface between 1985 and 2000, at a rate seven times faster than between 1850 and 1973." (IPS news).
Two views of Zmutt Glacier, the left photographed by H.F. Reid in August 1894 and the right one by Wikimedia Commons/Jackph on Aug 2006. Note the pools of water at the base of the glacier in the 2006 image. Click for larger image.
"Of the 91 [Swiss] glaciers being tracked, 84 had retreated in 2005 compared to a year earlier" —Swiss Academy of Science (2005)
The mission of the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (SGMN) is to track long-term changes in glaciers in the Swiss Alps. They have data going back more than one hundred years for over 120 glaciers in the Swiss Alps. SGWN scientists take annual measurements of many of the glaciers. Their web site provides measurements for Zmutt glacier from 1892 to 1997 as well as for many other Swiss glaciers.
Location: Valais, Switzerland
Coordinates: 45.96° N, 7.62° E
Average Elevation: 2980 m
Glacier Type: Alpine
Current Size: 16.9 sq km (in 1973)
Rate of Loss: 2 km in last 150 years
The photo above shows Harry Fielding Reid in 1933 exploring Alaska. Born 18 May 1859 in Baltimore, Reid is considered America's first geophysicist. Read more about him in Harry Fielding Reid 1859-1944: A Bibliographic Memoir.
Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures (PDF, 26.5 MB)