Glacier movement essay

Distinguish between the terms accumulation and net ablation? (5)

These are terms that identify with methods of adding of taking away the ice on a glacier, inputs and outputs if you will. Accumulation is a zone where snow collects either from a heavy downpour or an avalanche in sufficient quantities to remain long enough to be converted into firn. This is process that snow goes through before becoming ice. This is often on a plateau as the snow stands a higher chance of settling where as on a slope it is often disturbed. This often takes place in the winter. ON the other hand there is ablation is where mass leaves the glacier usually in the form of melt water in rivers. However some is lost due to evaporation and on coasts as icebergs. Ablation has a tendency to occur in the summer where temperatures are higher and therefore ice may melt and leave the glacier.

Explain how and why glaciers move. (20)

The character of movement for a glacier is dependant on whether the glaciers’ ice is warm or cold. This is because the different ice has different melting temperatures due to the pressure increase (by mass). As the pressure increases then the freezing point falls more and more below zero degrees C.

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Warm ice has a temperature of around 0 degrees throughout its depth. This means that it is able to realise large amount of melt water, especially in high temperatures during the summer months. Cold ice is constantly below 0 degrees and therefore there is virtually no melt water. This is very relevant because it is the presence of melt water that enables a glacier to move.

Sometimes the ice surges and moves one hundred feet in a day, other times it moves only an inch or two a day so you can hardly notice the movement. No matter how ...

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