ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Franz Josef glacier, New Zealand, aerial photograph. A glacier is a river of ice. It forms as snow, falling in mountainous areas, compacts to form ice that flows downhill under its own weight. The Franz Josef glacier descends from the Southern Alps on New Zealand's South Island. In 2006, it was 12 kilometres long, but, like all glaciers, it undergoes periods of advancing (increasing in size) and retreating (decreasing in size). It is unusual among glaciers in that it descends into a rainforest, in this case the temperate rainforest found on the West Coast of the South Island. The glacier is named after the Austrian emperor Franz Josef I (1830-1916).
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