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What are glaciers?

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What are glaciers? A glacier is a large mass of ice, snow and rock debris which move very slowly, accumulate in great quantities and flow down under the pressure of their own weight. They are mostly found at high altitudes and form when the yearly snow in a region goes above the amount of snow and ice melting in a given summer. This formation of glaciers shaping the landscape is called Glaciation. A glacier is usually formed on land and then moves in response to gravity and goes through internal deformation. How do glaciers form? * First of all snow falls and these snowflakes are collected together in a hollow in the mountainside. * This snow builds up compressing it together so that the snowflakes become more round and compact. This is called a Firn. The snow carries on collecting until the weight squeezes the Firn into ice. This ice is of a very high density. ...read more.


The moving particles remove the loose and weak debris from the side of the rock. Plucked debris in basal ice grinds into the bedrock and this grinding leaves long grooves in the bedrock which are usually parallel called striations. This process can also be seen if there are small, curved scar made by vibratory chipping of a bedrock surface by rock which are called chattermarks. Abrasion requires a warm glacier bed. Plucking/ quarrying there are two names for this process (plucking and quarrying). This is when some ice comes in contact with a joint and the friction on the ice melts some of the ice present. This ice then freezes to the rock and loosens the rock. As the ice moves down the valley it pulls the rock apart and is particularly effective where a glacier flows over rock that has are ready been weakened by frost weathering. Meltwater Erosion The streams of meltwater that flow along the base of a glacier erode rock in the same way as surface streams. ...read more.


DRUMLINS are long extended hills of glacial deposition. These would have once been part of the debris carried and then accumulated where more snow would have built up upon it. All glacial deposits are mixed up Through the processes of glacial erosion, transportation and deposition, glaciers produce many different formations and change the landscape. For example, valleys are formed where there are slat floor with steep sides which are sometimes called glacial troughs, These are U shaped valleys. Glaciers sometimes have tributaries and these U shaped valleys with a water fall at the surface are called hanging valleys. Peaks and ridges are also formed. A knife- edge ridge such as an Ar�te is formed when two neighbouring corries run parallel and gradually move together closer. As each glacier erodes either side of the ridge, the edge becomes steeper and the ridge becomes narrower. A pyramidal peak is formed when corries and Ar�tes meet. The glaciers carve away at the top of a mountain and create a very sharp pointed summit. ...read more.

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