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Why is glacier ice blue?

Glacier ice is composed of hexagonal-shaped crystals composed of H2O molecules. Hence, the structure of the atoms in each molecule and the relationship between the spacing of the millions and millions of molecules that make up the ice are governed by the laws of chemistry and physics. The color of any naturally occurring substance is related to the relationship between the size and shape of its molecules and the way the atoms in its molecules interact with natural light. When molecules absorb light their electrons are excited to higher energy levels. Based on their size, shape and spacing, compounds absorb certain wavelengths of visible light and reflect other wavelengths. This absorption is responsible for the unique color of each substance and for glacier ice’s blue color. The longer the path that light travels in ice, the bluer it appears. Photo that shows blue glacial ice.

Tags: Global Change, Glaciers, Climate, Snow, Ice, Polar