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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Japan's first glacier discovered in Tateyama mountain range

A body of ice found by museum officials in the Tateyama mountain range in Japan's Northern Alps has received official recognition from the Japanese Society of Snow and Ice as Japan's first glacier.

Previously it was thought that there were no glaciers in East Asia south of Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula.

"Confirming the existence of a glacier in a warm place like Japan is a major find," said Yoshiyuki Fujii, 67, former chairman of the society. The finding will be published in the May issue of the society's journal.

The Japanese Society of Snow and Ice is the only body in Japan that confirms glaciers. It is believed that the Tateyama mountain range's large snowfall in the winter and low summer temperatures created the right conditions for a glacier to form in the area.

The Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum started investigating the area in 2009, drilling holes through 15 to 20 meters of surface snow to reach the body of ice, and then inserting poles into the gaps. In September and October last year, GPS measurements were taken to determine the distance the ice had traveled. Read More