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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

ablation moraine

Water bodies; Glaciers

An irregular-shaped layer or pile of glacier sediment formed by the melting of a block of stagnant ice. Ultimately, ablationa moraine is deposited on the former bed of the glacier.

surge

Water bodies; Glaciers

A short-lived, frequently large-scale, increase in the rate of movement of the ice within a glacier. Ice velocities may increase 10 to 100 times above normal flow rates. In some surges, the terminus ...

barren zone

Water bodies; Glaciers

An area of fresh, vegetation-free bedrock around the margin of a retreating glacier that documents the recent loss of ice.

push moraine

Water bodies; Glaciers

A ridge or pile of unstratified glacial sediment that is formed in front of the ice margin by the terminus of an advancing glacier, bulldozing sediment in its path.

bergschrund

Water bodies; Glaciers

A single large crevasse or series of sub-parallel crevasses that develop at the head of a glacier. The location where ice pulls away from the bedrock wall of the cirque against which it accumulated. ...

mass balance

Water bodies; Glaciers

A measure of the change in mass of a glacier at a certain point for a specific period of time. The balance between accumulation and ablation.

terminal moraine

Water bodies; Glaciers

A cross-valley, ridge-like accumulation of glacial sediment that forms at the farthest point reached by the terminus of an advancing glacier.

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