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Mountain glaciers

These glaciers construct in high like the mountain regions, regularly flowing the end of icefields that expectancy several peaks or also a hill range. The biggest mountain glaciers are found in Arctic Canada, Alaska, the Andes in southern America, and the Himalaya in Asia.

Valley glaciers

Commonly originating from hill glaciers or icefields, this glaciers spill down valleys, looking lot like gigantic tongues. Valley glaciers might be an extremely long, frequently flowing down past the snow line, sometimes reaching sea level.

Tidewater glaciers

As the surname implies, these are valley glaciers that flow far enough to with out into the sea. In some locations, tidewater glaciers provide breeding habitats because that seals. Assistant glaciers space responsible because that calving numerous small icebergs, i beg your pardon although not as imposing together Antarctic icebergs, deserve to still pose problems for shipping lanes.

A classic tidewater glacier, Lamplugh Glacier terminates in a little embayment in Alaska"s Glacier Bay national Park and also Preserve. —Credit: photo by wilhelm Osgood Field. 1941. Lamplugh Glacier: native the Glacier photo Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: national Snow and Ice Data Center.

Piedmont glaciers

Piedmont glaciers occur when steep sink glaciers pour out into reasonably flat plains, wherein they spread out out into bulb-like lobes. Malaspina Glacier in Alaska is just one of the many famous examples of this kind of glacier, and is the biggest piedmont glacier in the world. Spilling the end of the Seward Icefield, Malaspina Glacier covers about 3,900 square kilometers (1,500 square miles) as it spreads across the seaside plain.

Hanging glaciers

When a major valley glacier system retreats and also thins, periodically the tributary glaciers room left in smaller sized valleys high over the shrunken main glacier surface. These are called hanging glaciers. If the whole system has actually melted and also disappeared, the north high valleys are referred to as hanging valleys.

Cirque glaciers

Cirque glaciers are named for the bowl-like hollows castle occupy, i m sorry are referred to as cirques. Typically, they are found high ~ above mountainsides and also tend to be vast rather 보다 long.

Ice aprons

These small, steep glaciers cling to high mountainsides. Like cirque glaciers, they space often broader than they space long. Ice aprons are typical in the Alps and in new Zealand, wherein they often reason avalanches because of the steep inclines lock occupy.

Rock glaciers

Rock glaciers space combinations of ice and rock. Although this glaciers have comparable shapes and also movements as continual glaciers, your ice might be confined to the glacier core, or may simply fill spaces between rocks. Rock glaciers may type when frozen ground creeps downslope. Lock may also accumulate ice, snow, and also rocks with avalanches or landslides.

Although they circulation like ice glaciers, rock glaciers are a combination of ice and also rock, such together these Alaskan glaciers at Sourdough top (left), and in the Chugach mountains (right). —Credit: nationwide Park service (left) and U.S. Geological survey (right).

Ice caps

Ice caps room miniature ice cream sheets, covering much less than 50,000 square kilometers (19,305 square miles). They kind primarily in polar and sub-polar regions and also are smaller sized than continental-scale ice sheets.


Icefields are similar to ice caps, except that their flow is affected by the basic topography, and also they are typically smaller than ice caps.

The southerly Patagonian Icefield spans the border between Argentina and Chile and covers 12,363 square kilometers (4,773 square miles). —Credit: NASA

Ice streams

Ice streams are large ribbon-like glaciers collection within an ice sheet—they are bordered through ice that is flowing an ext slowly, rather than by absent outcrop or mountain ranges. These substantial masses of flowing ice room often really sensitive to transforms such as the loss of ice cream shelves at their terminus or an altering amounts of water flowing beneath them. The Antarctic ice cream sheet has many ice streams.

Ice sheets

Found currently only in Antarctica and also Greenland, ice sheets are substantial continental masses that glacial ice and also snow widening over 50,000 square kilometers (19,305 square miles). The ice cream sheet on Antarctica is over 4.7 kilometers (3 miles) thick in part areas, extending nearly every one of the land features except the Transantarctic Mountains, i m sorry protrude over the ice. One more example is the Greenland ice Sheet. In the past ice ages, huge ice sheets likewise covered many of Canada (the Laurentide ice cream Sheet) and also Scandinavia (the Scandinavian ice Sheet), yet these have actually now disappeared, leaving just a couple of ice caps and mountain glaciers behind.

Ice shelves

Ice shelves happen when ice sheets prolong over the sea and also float ~ above the water. They variety from a couple of hundred meters to over 1 kilometre (0.62 mile) in thickness. Ice cream shelves surround many of the Antarctic continent.

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Between late January and early in march 2002, the Larsen B ice cream Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula disintegrated. Caught by the moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) ~ above NASA"s Terra satellite, these images present the breakup progression.

Last updated: 16 march 2020