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The Majestic World of Glaciers: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 09 November, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

World of Glaciers Reading Passage:

Glaciers, the colossal rivers of ice, have fascinated humankind for centuries. These dynamic giants are far more than static masses of ice; they are vital components of the earth’s ecosystem, shaping the land and playing a critical role in global climate regulation.

The formation of a glacier is a spectacle of nature's prowess. It begins with snowfall accumulation over time, compressing into dense, layered ice. The weight of the accumulated ice exerts pressure, transforming snowflakes into granules and eventually into a solid mass of glacial ice. This process can span several decades or even centuries.

Glaciers are categorized by their environment and form. Alpine glaciers, for instance, form on mountainsides and move down valleys, while continental glaciers spread across vast land areas. The movement of a glacier, albeit slow, is a powerful force that carves valleys, shapes mountains, and forms landscapes. It's this very movement that has given rise to some of the most breathtaking scenery on our planet.

Despite their grandeur, glaciers are incredibly sensitive to climate changes. Global warming poses a significant threat to their existence. The melting of glaciers leads to rising sea levels, which poses risks to coastal ecosystems and human settlements.

The study of glaciers also brings to light the history of our planet. Ice cores extracted from glaciers hold valuable information about Earth’s past climate patterns, atmospheric composition, and even the occurrence of volcanic eruptions. This data is crucial for understanding climate change and for predicting future environmental conditions.

As sentinels of climate change, glaciers tell a story that weaves together the past, present, and future of our planet. They remind us of the delicate balance that sustains life on Earth and the profound impact human activity has on the natural world.


Q1. What primarily initiates the formation of a glacier?

A) Ice melting

B) Snowfall

C) Volcanic eruptions

D) River flow

Q2. Fill in the blank: Glaciers are categorized by their ______ and form.

Q3. True or False: Alpine glaciers can only be found in polar regions.

Q4. What is the primary cause of rising sea levels linked to glaciers?

A) Increased snowfall

B) Global warming

C) Glacial movement

D) Mountain shaping

Q5. Fill in the blank: Ice cores from glaciers provide valuable data about Earth’s past ______ patterns.

Q6. Multiple-choice: Which landscape feature is not typically formed by glacial movement?

A) Valleys

B) Mountains

C) Volcanoes

D) Lakes

Q7. True or False: The movement of glaciers is so slow it has no significant impact on the earth’s geography.

Q8. Fill in the blank: The process of glacial ice formation can span several ______ or even centuries.

Q9. Multiple-choice: Glaciers hold information about all of the following except:

A) Past climate patterns

B) Atmospheric composition

C) Future climate predictions

D) Historical human settlements

Q10. True or False: Continental glaciers form exclusively on mountain peaks.


A1. B) Snowfall

Explanation: Glaciers form when snowfall accumulates over time and compresses into dense ice.

A2. (environment)

Explanation: The environment and form are the main criteria for categorizing glaciers.

A3. (False)

Explanation: Alpine glaciers form on mountainsides and move down valleys, not just in polar regions.

A4. B) Global warming

Explanation: Global warming leads to the melting of glaciers, which contributes to rising sea levels.

A5. (climate)

Explanation: Ice cores from glaciers contain information about historical climate patterns.

A6. C) Volcanoes

Explanation: Glacial movement carves valleys and shapes mountains but does not form volcanoes.

A7. (False)

Explanation: Despite their slow movement, glaciers significantly shape the earth’s geography.

A8. (decades)

Explanation: The transformation from snowflake to glacial ice can take decades or centuries.

A9. D) Historical human settlements

Explanation: While glaciers hold natural records, they do not contain direct information about historical human settlements.

A10. (False)

Explanation: Continental glaciers spread across vast land areas, not just mountain peaks.

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