How long does it take to compress snow into a glacier?



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    Glacial and interglacial periods have cycled for an estimated 900,000 years. Glaciers form during these cycles of extraordinarily cold climate, snow build-up would not be exposed to warm enough temperatures to melt. From winter to winter snow build-up would increase until it began to compress into ice under increased weight from top layers. Some glaciers are thousands of meters thick. While the cited source of this information suggests that the transition from interglacial climate to glacial climate took 400 years or less, the time it took for these glaciers to form to the extent that they did (covering Northern Europe and Canada in thick sheets of ice) took tens of thousands of years.

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