What we lose when we lose our glaciers

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To enter a world of ice and rock is to witness the sublime, a sensory paradox of perspective-shifting unreality

In the beginning, there was only Niflheim, the realm of ice and cold and mists, and Muspelheim, the realm of fire. Between the two was a deep void through which a frozen river coursed. Out of the drips from this river was the first person born: Ymir, the ice giant whose thoughts were clouds.

This origin story makes particular sense in the land of its creators, Iceland, an island so obviously carved from ice and fire. But Earth itself is hostage to these two violent states, which have competed for precedence over our planet for billions of years.

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