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Why are glaciers blue?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Steve Sobieszczyk. Let's get right to it, today's question is:

Why are glaciers blue?

Because the red (long wavelengths) part of white light is absorbed by ice and the blue (short wavelengths) light is transmitted and scattered. The longer the path light travels in ice, the more blue it appears.

And now you know. Join us again every weekday for a new CoreFact. For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to usgs.gov/podcasts. We are still happily accepting your science questions, so if you're curious about something that we can answer, send us an email at corefacts@usgs.gov or leave a voicemail at 703-648-5600, long distance fees apply.

The USGS CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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Title: Why are glaciers blue?

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Date Recorded: 2/29/2008


Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

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USGS CoreFacts


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