There are few sights out there as awe-inspiring as the fjords. Sailing through these massive geological structures gives you a glimpse into the past, while simultaneously transporting you to a whole other world. Surrounded on either side by lush, snow-capped mountains, fjords stand as a testament to how natural history has - quite literally - shaped our planet.
Found only in regions near the north or south poles, these deep valleys stand apart from the canyons and gorges all over the world due to their formation. The Grand Canyon is easily the most iconic valley in North America, and was formed by millions of years' worth of river erosion. As incredible as this is, fjords like the Norwegian fjords are formed by an even more dramatic force: glaciers. Here's a look at how these impressive basins came to be:
You may think of the ice age as being something that only happened thousands of years ago when the entire planet was cold and mass extinction took place. In reality, however, the definition of ice age is somewhat anticlimactic. An ice age is simply a period of time in which there are glaciers on Earth: this instant, for example. We've been in our current ice age for millions of years, and we've come to think of it as the planet's "normal."
Although Earth is currently in an ice age, it's nowhere near as icy as has been in the past. At various points throughout history, glaciers have extended far further from the poles than they do today. In fact, there's even been a period of time in which polar ice reached all the way to the equator. During this period of time, the average temperature of the earth was only about -58 degrees. However, ice can only stay in these parts of the planet as long as temperature and atmospheric conditions allow for it, which is usually a very brief period of time.