For thousands of years, glaciers have shaped the appearance of the Hohe Tauern National Park. Besides their imposing appearance, they have important functions for the environment.
Today there are more than 2,000 glaciers in the Alps with an ice volume of around 100 km², of which 342 can be found in the Hohe Tauern National Park. One can distinguish between different types of glaciers, such as cirque glaciers, slope glaciers, block glaciers, avalanche glaciers or outlet glaciers.
Glaciers form when the summer temperatures are not sufficient to melt the snow that has fallen in winter. Year after year, layers of snow accumulate, which then turn into firn and solidify into ice due to increasing pressure. Glacial ice is therefore not a rigid body and flows down into the valley due to gravity. When terrain crests are overflowed, disruptive forces arise, which are discharged by the tearing open of crevasses.