According to a study conducted and released by Portland State University there are 612 officially named glaciers in the Western US, 52 no longer qualify as glaciers. 6 of those are located here in Montana.

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What qualifies as a glacier to be an official glacier. There is quite a bit of criteria when defining a glacier, but the short answer is a large, thick ice mass that is formed on land from fallen snow, that has been compressed over many centuries.

Gray Wolf Glacier in the Mission Mountains is now listed as perennial snowfields.

Canva Photo By: Lorraine Boogich
Canva Photo By: Lorraine Boogich
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Fissure Glacier northwest of Gray Wolf is too small to be considered a glacier.

Canva Photo By: Steve Lens Photo
Canva Photo By: Steve Lens Photo
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Boulder Glacier in Glacier National Park is now listed as perennial snowfields.

Canva Photo By: Alexander Reinhold
Canva Photo By: Alexander Reinhold
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Blackwell Glacier in the Cabinet Mountains is now listed as perennial snowfields.

Canva Photo By: Joan Budai
Canva Photo By: Joan Budai
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Grasshopper Glacier in the Beartooth Mountains is now listed as a rock glacier.

Canva Photo By: Photos By Jim
Canva Photo By: Photos By Jim
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Grasshopper Glacier in the Crazy Mountains is now listed as a rock glacier.

Canva Photo By: Lynnae Lowe
Canva Photo By: Lynnae Lowe
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The consequences of glacial shrinkage extend beyond the icy realms. Glaciers play a crucial role in regulating global sea levels, acting as reservoirs that release freshwater into oceans. The accelerated melting contributes to rising sea levels, posing a threat to low-lying coastal areas and island nations.

Moreover, the retreat of glaciers impacts ecosystems dependent on glacial meltwater, affecting freshwater availability for both wildlife and human populations. As these frozen giants continue to dwindle, urgent global action is required to mitigate climate change and preserve these vital elements of Earth's natural beauty and balance.

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