Geography Features The Lambert Glacier

About the Lambert Glacier, history, description, and geography of the biggest glacier in the world.



Located in eastern Antarctica, Lambert Glacier is the world's largest known glacier. Together with the Mellor and Fisher glaciers, which form the upper extension of the Lambert, the ice mass has been measured at 320 mi. long and over 40 mi. wide at some points. The Lambert drains into the massive Amery Ice Shelf at longitude 70 deg. E, almost due south of Bombay and approximately 1,400 mi. from the South Pole.

The Lambert was discovered in the mid-1950s by Australian explorers. The Russians "rediscovered" it during the International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) and named it IGY. Their measurements show it to be 800 mi. long and an astounding 370 mi. wide. The variations in these figures may be due to the fact that the Lambert is part of the immense Antarctic ice sheet, which itself is classified as a glacial form. The enormity of these earth features is due to the Antarctic's moisture and extreme cold. Temperatures in winter can plummet to-126 deg. F. Temperatures in summer are milder, but not nearly mild enough to melt the massive ice forms.

The Lambert is found on one of the coldest, bleakest areas on the planet. The rugged mountain ranges that flank the glacier, along with much of the rest of the frozen continent, are still largely unexplored, but the focus of international interest is turning more and more to the Antarctic, both for its strategic importance and for its oil and mineral deposits. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959, signed by 11 nations with interests in the region, reserves the continent for peaceful, nonpolitical exploration and development.

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