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Glaciers
Definition

A large mass of ice which persists throughout the year, and moves slowly down slope in a liquid
manor by its own weight. Glaciers are formed in areas where the winter snow doesn't have a chance
to melt, and consecutive snowfalls accumulate and compress into ice.



The accumulation…

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The main inputs are snowfall and sediments falling from the valley sides due to frost shattering and
other forms of weathering. The main outputs are evaporation and water from melted snow. Glacial
ice is stored in the system as well as transferred down the valley.

How do glaciers move?

Despite…

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Freeze thaw

Freeze thaw occurs in cold climates, freeze thaw happens when water expands and freezes, so when
it expands it gets bigger so the space that it is in puts pressure on the surrounding rock and the crack
widens. More often the temperature flocculates above and below freezing point…

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Glacial troughs (Lauterbrunnen valley, Switzerland)

These are recognisable by their steep sides and a wide, flat valley floor.




The original valley was developed by a river
and any spurs that projected from the valley sides
have been cut back to become truncated spurs.
As the glacier develops in a river…

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After the glacier melts they form benches or Alps.
At the valley sides there can often be a large amount of scree as a result of weathering (frost
shattering) and mass movement on the upper slopes.




Corries/ cirques/ cwm (Glaslyn, Snowdonia)

These are semi-circular, steep side of a mountain or…

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Rock fragments stick into the ice and scraped and eroded the sides of the mountain- a
processes known as abrasion.
The Glaslyn glacier also eroded into its base by plucking.
This occurred as melt water at the base of the glacier froze into the rocks.
As the glacier moves forward…

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Pyramidal peaks/horns (the Matterhorn and the Eiger, Switzerland)

This is a jagged peak created by several corries/cirques eroding backwards. The
peaks become sharpened by frost action.




Hanging valleys

This is a tributary valley of a U shaped valley (glaciated valley), which ends abruptly high
above the floor of the U…

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cirque An Frost shattering, Red tarn
amphitheatre-shaped abrasion, plucking and
depression in a rotational ice
mountain side, with a movement.
steep back wall and a
rock lip.
Arête Narrow, knife-edged Two cirques cut back Striding edge
ridge towards each other
Pyramidal peak Pointed peak with Three or more cirques The…

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Glaciers and ice sheets carry a huge amount of debris, ranging from boulders as big as houses to
the finest of rock particles. The rock waste is called moraine.

The debris comes from:

Glacial erosion
Rock falls- freeze thaw feeds the glacier with a continuous supply of rock fragments.
Rock…

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