Venezuela’s Last Glacier Disappears

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La Corona, the final glacier in Venezuela, has melted so significantly that it is no longer classified as a glacier.

Although glaciers across the Andes Mountain range in South America have generally diminished over time, Venezuela is the first nation in the range to lose all its glaciers. La Corona, located on Humboldt Peak, is now categorized as an ice field by the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative, similar to its preceding six glaciers.

An ice field is defined by having less than 20,000 square miles of frozen dome, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, while glaciers can span up to about 270,000 square miles.

This development follows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s efforts to slow the glacier’s natural melting by covering it with thermal blankets last December. However, it’s well known that glaciers fluctuate in size over time.

Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, which also contain parts of the Andes, still report the presence of glaciers. Pico Humboldt, standing among roughly 90 peaks in the range, ranks as the 74th tallest at over 16,000 feet and is the second-highest peak in Venezuela.

Glacier runoff is crucial for the majority of hydropower in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia, per the ICCI. The organization attributes the melting to a temperature rise of 0.10 °C per decade over the last 70 years.

Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry
Jenny Goldsberry covers social media and trending news. She’s a 2020 Brigham Young University graduate with a major in communications and minor in Japanese. She was born in Utah and has previous newsroom experience at the Salt Lake Tribune and Utah’s NPR station.

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