Mingyong Glacier was formed by runoff from Mount Kawa Karpo, the main peak of Meili Snow Mountain. The glacier consists of several "tongues" that fork down the mountain's gullies, stretching down as far as the forest line some 2600 meters below, only 800 meters or so above the surface waters of the Langcang River. The natural proto-ecology surrounding the glacier tongues is well preserved, representing the diverse natural geological characteristics that one would expect to find at such a xerothermic (i.e., both hot and dry) valley, of which Langcang River is a part.
According to researchers, Mingyong Glacier is the lowest-lying – latitude-wise – glacier in the world. Mingyong Glacier stretches some 4 kilometers in length, with a breadth varying from 30 meters up to 80 meters in certain places. In the recent past, however, the glacier had begun to diminish, though it has regained some of its original format since 2004.