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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

braided stream

Water bodies; Glaciers

A stream that is characterized by a complex network of branches that continuously separate and reunite. Streams braid when they have a much greater sediment load than they can carry.

moulin

Water bodies; Glaciers

A narrow, tubular chute or crevasse through which water enters a glacier from the surface. Occasionally, the lower end of a moulin may be exposed in the face of a glacier or at the edge of a stagnant ...

firn line

Water bodies; Glaciers

A line across the glacier, from edge to edge, that marks the transition between exposed glacier ice (below) and the snow-covered surface of a glacier (right). During the summer melt season, this line ...

jökulhlaup

Water bodies; Glaciers

A glacier outburst flood resulting from the failure of a glacier-ice-dam, glacier-sediment-dam, or from the melting of glacier ice by a volcanic eruption (Icelandic).

glacier table

Water bodies; Glaciers

A rock that is balanced on a pedestal of ice, and elevated above the surface of a glacier. The rock protects the pedestal of ice from melting by insulating it from the sun.

medial moraine

Water bodies; Glaciers

A sediment ridge, located on a glacier's exposed ice surface, away from its valley walls, extending down glacier to the terminus. It forms by the joining of two lateral moraines when two glaciers ...

foliation

Water bodies; Glaciers

The layering or banding that develops in a glacier during the process of transformation of snow to glacier ice. Individual layers, called folia, are visible because of differences in crystal or grain ...

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