Fluvioglacial Landforms

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Out line the ways in which glaciers transport debris (5 marks)

Glaciers are capable of transporting large amount of debris and this waste material is classified according to the position in the glacier that it is found. There are therefore three ways in which glaciers transport debris.

The first is called supraglacial and is where material, often from rock falls and weathering processes, is carried on top of the glacier. Secondly there is englacial. This is where debris is transported within the glacier itself. This material may originally be from supraglacial material which was covered with further ice and snow, from material which has fallen into the crevasses of the glacier or sunk into the ice via a process know as localised pressure melting which occurs beneath large rocks and stones. If the debris continues to sink into the glacier it will become subglacial debris. This is the final way in which glaciers transport material and, as the name suggests, it is where debris is held underneath the glacier. This debris may also have been collected by processes such as plucking and abrasion.  

Describe and explain the variety and location of fluvioglacial landforms (20 marks)

When glaciers begin to melt they produce large amounts of melt water which often results in extreme erosion and the transportation of debris, leading to the formation of distinctive landforms. Fluvioglacial deposits vary greatly to glacial deposits. They are deposited by melt water streams, which run beneath and then beyond the glaciers’ snout, and in the same manner as any other stream they loose energy as their velocity or volume decreases. As their energy is lost they begin to deposit the debris that they are carrying, largest first followed by the smaller particles as more energy is lost.

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The landforms of fluvioglacial activity fall under two categories, those formed by fluvioglacial erosion and those formed by fluvioglacial deposition.

Melt water channels are common features in areas which have experience fluvioglacial erosion, mainly occurring in areas where the melt water flows in discreet channels and these are often shallow, especially when the ground is still frozen. If a melt water channel is damned, perhaps by a moraine, then the water level will rise and should the stream then over flow an overspill channel will form. An example of this is found in Newtondale in North Yorkshire where an ...

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