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Book description

Glaciers are among the most beautiful natural wonders on Earth, but for most of us the least known and understood. This book describes how glaciers grow and decay, how they move, and how they influence human civilisation. Today covering a tenth of the Earth's surface, glacier ice has shaped the landscape over millions of years by scouring away rocks, transporting and depositing debris far from its source. Glacier meltwater drives turbines and irrigates deserts, yields mineral-rich soils, and has left us a wealth of valuable sand and gravel. However, glaciers also threaten human property and life. Our future is indirectly bound up with the fate of glaciers and their influence on global climate and sea level. A lively running text develops these themes and is supported by over 200 stunning photographs, taking us from the High-Arctic through North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand and South America to the Antarctic.


Review of the first edition‘The book is a fine introduction to the world of glaciers. It is authoritative and yet written in an appealingly straightforward manner … This is a book that will appeal to all interested in glaciers. The specialist will dwell on the marvellous pictures. The general reader will enjoy the introduction to the realm of glacier ice.’

David Sugden Source: The Times Higher Education Supplement

Review of the first edition‘Hambrey and Alean are both well known glaciologists. They have carried out fieldwork in glaciers all over the world … it is a book that expresses their love for glaciers; it will attract attention particularly because of the many beautiful photographs …’.

A. J. van Loon Source: Sedimentary Geology

‘This book convincingly justifies the authors’ convictions [that glaciers are among the most beautiful and fascinating elements of nature] and should appeal to outdoor enthusiasts happy with the depth such subjects attract when investigated in television documentaries. One could almost imagine the book was planned to accompany a television series! … This popular and enjoyable account of Glaciers is a credit to the authors and to the Cambridge University Press.’

Julian Paren Source: Polar Record

‘This work is first of all an extraordinary fine collection of photographs of glaciers and glacial landscapes … Glaciologists should buy the book to look at the pictures, laymen to look and read … The authors love glaciers, and it shows. I can only recommend this book.’

Johannes Oerlemans Source: Antarctic Science

‘As an introduction to an important and interesting subject which has had a huge influence on the development of earth science since the early decades of the 19th century, Glaciers provides an excellent readable and authoritative account.‘

Source: Geological Magazine

'The narrative of the book is concise and easy to follow; useful diagrams that are clear and illustrate points in the text unambiguously are provided as needed making for a coherent read but the feature of this book is surely the photography it contains. So,me of the photographs are feast for the eyes and inspire awe in the natural world and its processes … This is one book that would grace any bookcase and give enjoyment to the reader.'

Source: Open University Geological Society

Glaciers, one of the greatest wonders of the world, deserve a monograph showing their beauty and appraising their global importance. And this is certainly the case with Hambrey’s and Alean’s book. Written and ably illustrated by the world-renown specialists in the matter of glaciology and palaeoglaciology, and carefully edited by Cambridge University Press, this book will be very useful for both laymen and professionals.’

Source: Earth-Science Reviews

‘The authors skilfully balance the text between the accessible and the informative, offering insight into the wide variety of glacial forms and processes without the need for previous knowledge in this facet of the earth sciences … Through both text and photographs this book provides an excellent introduction to the variety, physical properties and significance of glaciers on a global scale. This is an excellent present for those friends and acquaintances who pose the question ‘why study glaciers?’review of the first edition

Giles H. Brown Source: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

‘The book reads like a greatly expanded entry on glaciers that one would expect to find in an encyclopaedia. Most of the pictures were taken by the authors during thier extensive travels around the world. Nothing seems to have been overlooked as Hambrey and Alean systematically owrk their way through 12 interesting ad superbly illustrated chapters. Alternativing nicely with 85 colour pictures of National Geographic quality are about 75 black-and-white photographs and diagrams. Thus, it is a highly illustrated book. This fact and the well-written and not too technical text make this book suitable for a wide readership … Overall this attractively priced book is both a very enjoyable read and a superbly illustrated ‘travelogue’. I highly recommend it to all those interested in glaciers, professional glaciologists included.’

Source: Arctic

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