Home > Industry/Domain > Water bodies > Glaciers


A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years, often centuries. Glaciers slowly deform and flow due to stresses induced by their weight, creating crevasses, seracs, and other distinguishing features. They also abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques and moraines. Glaciers form only on land and are distinct from the much thinner sea ice and lake ice that form on the surface of bodies of water.

Contributors in Glaciers



Water bodies; Glaciers

An increase in the length of a glacier compared to a previous point in time. As ice in a glacier is always moving forward, a glacier's terminus advances when less ice is lost due to melting and/or ...


Water bodies; Glaciers

A glacially eroded or modified U-shaped valley that extends below sea level and connects to the ocean. Filled with seawater, depths may reach more than 1,000 feet below sea level. The largest Alaskan ...

ice sizzle

Water bodies; Glaciers

A crackling or sizzling similar to that made by soft drinks or seltzer water but louder. The sound made as air bubbles formed at many atmospheres of pressure are released during the melting of ...

U-shaped valley

Water bodies; Glaciers

A valley with a parabolic or "U" shaped cross-section, steep walls and generally a broad and flat floor. Formed by glacier erosion, a U-shaped valley results when a glacier widens and over-steepens a ...

calving glacier

Water bodies; Glaciers

A glacier with a terminus that ends in a body of water (river, lake, ocean) into which it calves icebergs.

cirque glacier

Water bodies; Glaciers

A small glacier that forms within a cirque basin, generally high on the side of a mountain.

ice cap

Water bodies; Glaciers

A dome-shaped accumulation of glacier ice and perennial snow that completely covers a mountainous area or island, so that no peaks or Nunataks poke through.

Featured blossaries

Aggressive sharks

Category: Animals   3 5 Terms

Christian Iconography

Category: Religion   2 20 Terms