Environment

The Glacial Features, Flora, And Fauna Of The Glacier National Park

Th Glacier National Park is endowed with spectacular natural features like glaciers, moraines, valleys, cirques, tarns, as well as unique flora and fauna.

The Glacier National Park is located on the Canada-United States border in the US state of Montana. The park covers over 1,583 square miles including parts of two mountain ranges. The park is characterized by over 130 lakes, over 1,000 species of plants, and hundreds of animal species. The park has most of its original plants and animal species such as the grizzly bear and moose as well as some of the endangered species including Wolverine. The Glacier National Park is also endowed with spectacular natural features which have been formed through the actions of glacial movement, fluvial deposit, and glacial erosion among other processes. Some of the glacial features and wildlife of Glacial National Park include;

7. Moraines -

Moraine is formed as a result of the accumulation of the unconsolidated glacial debris. The debris is carried along the glacier and consists of particles ranging in size. Moraines are classified either by their origin or by shape. Lateral moraine is created along the sides of a glacier while the terminal moraine is created at the foot of the glacier. Other moraines include the ground and medial moraines. The Moraines can be seen from the Blackfeet Reservation on the eastern boundary of the park.

6. Paternoster Lakes -

Paternoster Lake is a series of small, successively lower lakes connected by a single stream. The name Paternoster is derived from the Latin word for opening word in the Lord’s Prayer “Our Father.” The lakes are formed by the recessional rock dams created by upstream retreat or melting of the ice. The lakes are known as Paternoster because of their resemblance to the rosary beads. Glacier National Park has five Paternoster lakes including Shelbourne, Swiftcurrent, Josephine, Grinnell, and upper Grinnell lakes.

5. Cirques and Tarns -

#5 Cirques and Tarns -

Cirques are amphitheater-like valleys formed by glacier erosion on the protected side of the mountain or slope where the snow and ice can pile and curve out to form a deep bowl. Most of the bowl-shaped cirques are sometimes filled with water or glaciers to form a lake-like feature know as tarns. The cirques can be formed through the process of glacial erosion or fluvial erosion with both processes involving glacial movement.

4. Aretes and Horns -

#4 Aretes and Horns -

Two adjacent cirques may erode towards one another to create an arête. Arête is a saw-tooth feature formed where two glaciers are curved on each side of the ridge. The edges of arête are sharpened by freeze-thaw weathering while steepening of the sides is as a result of mass wasting. The craggy horns are mountain tops scrapped by glacier on more than three sides.

3. Hanging Valleys -

#3 Hanging Valleys -

Hanging Valley is a valley that is higher than the main valley and is formed when a small side-channel glacier or tributary joins a larger and deeper intersecting trunk glacier. The glacier erodes the U-Shaped Valley while the tributary glacier makes a shallower U-shaped valley. Examples of the hanging valleys in Glacier National Park include the one above Bird Woman Fall.

2. U-shaped Valleys -

#2 U-shaped Valleys -

U-shaped valley is created through the process of glaciations and has a characteristically U shape. When glacier the right course downwards they often fill areas that were previously occupied by rivers or streams. The freezing and re-freezing of the glacier conveyor belt lead to the scouring of the valley into a U-shape resulting in the formation of the U-shaped valleys. Examples include Lake McDonald and Bowman.

1. Flora And Fauna -

#1 Flora And Fauna -

All thehistorically known plants and animals still exist in the Glacial National Park.The park contains 1,132 known species of plants. The coniferous forest is homeo some of the common tree species in the park including Douglas fir and limberfir. Grasses and small plants grow on the slopes of the mountain areas of thepark. Two threatened species of mammal are found in this park. These speciesinclude grizzly bear and Canadian lynx. Also, 260 species of birds have beenrecorded in the park.

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