Questions for ‘Cool Jobs: Hunting surprises in thinning glaciers’


TKTKTK (San Rafael Glacier, Patagonia, Chile)

SteveAllenPhoto/ istockphoto

To accompany feature “Cool Jobs: Hunting surprises in thinning glaciers


Before Reading: 

1.  What do you imagine a glacier would be like, if you were to visit one?  

2.  Why might it matter if the world’s glaciers all melted?        

During Reading: 

1.  What is a glacier and how does one form?     

2.  What’s causing the meltdown of glaciers?  

3.  What does the term mass balance refer to?   

4.  How do scientists measure how fast a glacier is melting?   

5.  Why does it matter if glaciers such as the ones Jon Riedel studies are melting?   

6.  What is Larsen B?   

7.  According to Erin Pettit’s research, how much did the glaciers on land in Antarctica thin during one recent six-year period?

8.  What is special about the kinds of archeological objects Albert Hafner studies in the Swiss Alps?  

9.  How is carbon 14 used to understand how long ago a living thing died?

10.  What is the “ghost” that Albert Hafner and colleagues found at Schnidejoch Pass, and what does it tell us about the past?

After Reading:

1.  Melting glaciers are one consequence of climate change. What other consequences do you know about?

2.  Imagine an archaeologist visiting the site of your hometown 5,000 years from now. If objects from your home were preserved in ice, what might they tell archeologists living in the future about how people in the 21st century had lived?