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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

Glaciers

trimline

Water bodies; Glaciers

A clear boundary line on the wall of a glacier valley that delineates the maximum recent thickness of a glacier. It may be a change in the color of the bedrock, indicating the separation of weathered ...

ice shelf

Water bodies; Glaciers

The floating terminus of a glacier, typically formed when a terrestrial glacier flow into a deep water basin, such as in Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic.

icefall

Water bodies; Glaciers

Part of a glacier where the ice flows over a bed with a very steep gradient, typically at a higher rate than both above and below. As a result the surface is fractured and heavily crevassed. In a ...

moraine

Water bodies; Glaciers

A general term for unstratified and unsorted deposits of sediment that form through the direct action of, or contact with, glacier ice. Many different varieties are recognized on the basis of their ...

crevasse

Water bodies; Glaciers

A crack or series of cracks that open in the surface of a moving glacier in response to differential stresses caused by glacier flow. They range in shape from linear to arcuate, in length from feet ...

pit pond

Water bodies; Glaciers

A depression in an outwash plain by the melting of a block of ice floated to its depositional site by meltwater and subsequently buried by sediment. As it melts, a depression in the surface of the ...

continental glacier

Water bodies; Glaciers

A thick, subcontinental to continental-scale accumulation of glacier ice and perennial snow that spreads from a center of accumulation, typically in all directions.

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