CHAPTER 18 GLACIERS AND GLACIATION

A. Glaciers: - A glacier is a thick ice mass that originates on land from the accumulation, compaction, and recrystallization of snow. - Where does snow come from? It is part of the hydrologic cycle. Water evaporates into the atmosphere, precipitates upon the land, and flows in rivers or underground back to the sea. Part of precipitation occurs at high elevations, and becomes part of a glacier. Such water can be stored as glacial ice for tens, hundreds, or thousands of years before melting and back to sea. Glaciers flow like running water and groundwater. They also erode, transport and deposit sediments.

Valley (Alpine) Glaciers: Consists of glaciers in mountainous areas where it flows slowly (few cm/d) through valleys that were occupied by streams. These masses flow out in all directions and obscure the topography of lands they flow through.B. and Antarctica in the South Pole. Glaciers do gain and lose ice. . Glacier Budget: Glaciers originate from snow. The only two places that exist nowadays are Greenland in the north. They are basically streams of ice ii. C. Types of Glaciers: i. Ice Sheet (Continental Glacier): Sheets of ice covering wide flat areas. glaciers form in areas where more snow falls in winter than melts during the summer. Therefore.

Snow accumulates and ice formation occurs in the zone of accumulation. The glacier is advancing if it gains. When a glacier reaches the sea/lake. it is only high in mountain areas. In polar regions. and separates this zone from zone of wastage. Its elevation varies from one region to another. it’s at sea level. large pieces of ice break off and form icebergs. In tropical areas. Where a glacier loses part of its snow/ice (melting) is the zone of wastage. and retreating if it loses. Glaciers waste through calving. It is stationary if accumulation equals wastage (ablation) . Snowline presents the outer limits of zone of accumulation. It is where snow addition thickens the glacier and initiates movement. It is below accumulation and above wastage.

ii. Glaciers erode the land in two ways: i. between accumulation at the upper end of the glacier.A glacier budget is the balance. They form what is known as rock flour . or lack of balance. Plucking: Occurs when melt-water penetrates the cracks and joints of bedrock beneath a glacier and freezes. They can transport up to boulder-sized particles. expands. they function like sandpaper to smooth and polish the surface below. retreating. or stationary. Abrasion: Occurs as the ice and its load slide over bedrock. D. Glacier Erosion: Glaciers are capable of great erosion. and loss at the lower end. Whether the margin of a glacier is advancing. the ice within the glacier continues to flow forward. and breaks the rock loose.

E. Hanging valleys: During glaciation. Erosional Landforms: Alpine glaciers move downvalley. so they generally accentuate the irregularities in the topography by creating steeper canyon walls and bold peaks. It is where snow accumulates and form ice. glaciers cut their valleys deeper than their smaller tributary glaciers. i. When glaciers retreat. U-shaped valleys: Running water forms narrow V-shaped valleys. ii. iii. During glaciation narrow valleys undergo a transformation as the glacier widen and deepens them resulting in a U-shaped glacial trough. Ice sheet override the terrain and subdue rather than accentuate. . Cirque: It is a bowl-shaped depression with steep walls on three sides but is open on the downvalley side. the valleys of tributary glaciers are left standing above the main glacial trough. and are called hanging valleys.

Glacial Deposits: Glaciers do move slowly. v. F. Both are formed due to enlargement of cirques through plucking and frost action. sharp-edged ridge. . pyramid-like peak. The divide between two cirques is reduced to a narrow knife-like partition (arête). and while moving they transport their load of debris as they advance across the land. Arête and horns: An Arête is a sinuous. a small lake called tarn occupies the cirque basin. Tarn: When a glacier in a cirque melts.iv. A Horn is a sharp. This load will eventually be deposited when the ice reaches it terminus or when it melts.

all of which are composed primarily of till. where. G. It is deposited as glacial ice melts and drops its load of unsorted rock fragments of different particles (because ice can not sort its sediments). or in what shape they were deposited. Moraine: The most common term for landforms made of glacial deposits is moraine. This term applies to all sediments of glacial origin no matter how. .Glacial deposits are termed glacial drift. It refers to a number of landforms. The particles are scratched and polished due to the fact that they were dragged along by the glacier. Depositional Landforms: Till: Unsorted material/sediment deposited directly by a glacier.

It is formed due to ice erosion of the sides of the valley with great efficiency. Lateral moraine: is a product of alpine glaciers (occurs in mountain valleys exclusively). or when a tributary joins the main stream. . and termed lateral moraine. it drops its load next to the valley walls. Medial moraine: It is another unique feature of alpine glacier. It occurs when two alpine glaciers converge (coalesce) and form a single ice stream.End moraine: is a ridge of till that forms at the terminus of a glacier. It is used as an indication of a glacier’s movement downvalley. When ice melts. The till that was carried along the sides of each glacier joins to form a single load of debris.

Smooth. The gentler. They range in height from 15-50m and up to 1 km long. however. . Kettles: They are pits or depressions occur in deposits of till. These are streamlined asymmetrical hills made of till. it is thought that it originates when glaciers advance over previously deposited drift and reshape the material. and less than 10 m in depth. parallel hills are termed drumlins.Drumlins: It is a depositional feature associated with ice sheet. They form when blocks of stagnant ice become buried in drift and eventually melts leaving pits in the glacial sediment. longer slope indicates the direction the ice moved. elongate. It is of unknown origin. The steep sides indicate the direction from which the ice sheet glacier advanced. They may be 2 km in diameter.

Esker: They are long. Some originate as deltas or fans built outward from the ice by meltwater streams. sinuous ridge composed largely of sand and gravel. Eskers are deposited by meltwater rivers flowing within. and beneath a mass of stagnant glacial ice. Tillite: a sedimentary rock formed when glacial till becomes lithified. narrow.Kame: These are glacial deposits in a form of steep-sided hills. on top of. . Some may be over 100 km long. Some kames represent bodies of sediment deposited by meltwater in openings within or depressions on tope of the ice. and more than 100 m high.

sea level may in negative values compared with the current sea level. Deglaciation (Interglacial) means ice melting. There were stages of glaciation and deglaciation throughout the geologic time.000 years ago. During glaciation. exposure and erosion. Glaciation means sea level low. .Glaciation (Ice Age): The last major glaciation occurred during the Pleistocene epoch. Soil formation is one aspect of glaciation (pedogenesis and karstification). 18. Sea level may reach higher levels than the current sea level. and deposition. sea level high.