Years ago, I moved to a tiny town in Alaska. I didn’t know what career I wanted. I didn’t know that I would become a scientist and an explorer. But today, I am a glaciologist. I study glaciers around the world!

When I was young, I had never ​​​​​​​met a scientist. And a female scientist? Never. But my dad always told me to focus on what I loved. Then, a career would follow.

I loved the outdoors. So, I moved to Skagway, Alaska, to work outside. There, I fell in love with glaciers. A glacier is a moving river of ice. It flows over Earth’s surface. Skagway’s valley, or fjord, was made by one.

Skagway, Alaska, is in a valley made by a glacier long ago.

This is a view from above of a glacier in Iceland.

Ever tasted a glacier? It’s a fun part of the tour when I take students to see glaciers.

Glacier Formation

For a long time, Skagway had three things needed to grow glaciers. It had snow, cold temperatures, and time. Snow falls and stacks up. Cold temperatures keep the snow from melting. Over time, the snow stacks up until it is hundreds of meters thick. Then it turns into glacier ice.

How? Imagine a single snowflake. It doesn’t weigh very much. Now imagine millions and millions of snowflakes stacked on top of each other. What happens to the one at the bottom? The weight of the other snow squishes down. Over time, the snow compresses into glacier ice!