How to Make a Glacier

Making a glacier is a simple and fun science activity.
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In Antartica, the landmass is covered with ice. In fact, there are two main glaciers that cover the landmass: the East Antartic Ice Sheet and the West Antartic Ice Sheet. These ice sheets move, expanding and retreating, affecting the surface of the land beneath by scouring it. Some of the features formed are moraines, caused by snow being forced in front of the glacier, and striations, which are the scratches. By making a glacier, you can study these formations yourself.

    Fill a cup about half full or a little more with water. Add blue food coloring until you achieve the shade of blue you want. Mix the food coloring and water with a spoon or by shaking the cup gently without spilling it.

    Fill the cup the rest of the way with sand, gravel or dirt. Mix the contents with a spoon. Place the cup in the freezer overnight; the mixture of water, food dye and dirt will turn into a glacier.

    Remove the frozen mixture of sand, water and food coloring from the freezer. Allowing the cup to sit for a short while will make it easier to extract your glacier from the cup because the ice melts a little.

    Set a baking sheet on the table and spray the surface with cooking spray. Sprinkle 2 cups of flour over the baking sheet, distributing it as evenly as you can manage.

    Tip the cup upside down to dislodge the glacier onto one end of the cooking sheet. Push the glacier from one side of the sheet to the other and study the striations and moraines it creates.

    Things You'll Need

    • Cup (paper or plastic)
    • Food coloring (blue)
    • Water
    • Spoon
    • Sand, gravel or dirt
    • Freezer
    • Baking sheet
    • Cooking spray
    • 2 cups flour

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