Glaciers erode the land in three primary ways: plucking, abrasion and freeze-thaw. All three manners of erosion combine to make glaciers one of the world’s most powerful agents of erosion.Know More
Glaciers are essentially frozen rivers. They are common in the Northern Hemisphere as well as at high altitudes. Glaciers do not erode mountains and bedrock quickly, but over long periods, they cause drastic changes.
Glaciers usually have at least one side that is in contact with rock. When part of the glacier melts, it allows water to penetrate behind the glacier and pull broken rocks from the wall. This is called plucking. When the melted water near the top of the glacier repeatedly melts and freezes, the water forces its way into the cracks. When water freezes, it expands, causing the rock to break. This type of erosion is called freeze-thaw. Finally, when rocks stick to the glacier, they may rub against the bedrock, which is called abrasion.
Glaciers have carved a number of important geographic features. Glacier National Park features a number of valleys cut by ancient glaciers as well as glacially damaged mountains. A giant glacier carved the Matterhorn, a large sharp peak in Switzerland. Other times, glaciers break into small pieces and melt, which forms small lakes called kettle lakes.Learn more in Earth Science
A glacier forms when a specific environment gets consistent snowfall throughout the year, causing the snow to accumulate rather than melt. The accumulation and compacting of snow by pressure eventually becomes glacial ice. Thus, sufficient moisture in the air and cold air are instrumental in the formation of glacier.Full Answer >
The two main types of glaciers are continental glaciers and alpine glaciers. Continental glaciers are also known as ice sheets because their form and flow are not significantly affected by underlying geographic formations. Alpine glaciers form on mountains and flow down mountain valleys.Full Answer >
Glaciated valleys and fjords are probably the most common results of glacial movement. Glacial erosion causes a number of notable geographical features that are normally unique, because of the enormous friction caused by the glaciers and the rocks and sediment from other places that glaciers bring along with them.Full Answer >
Glaciers alter the landscape through erosion of the soil and rocks over which they pass. This erosion process leaves a vertical-walled valley similar to an amphitheater at the glacier's sources, according to Reference.com. As they travel through V-shaped valleys, glaciers transform the valley into a U-shape, grinding away cliffs and the bases of slopes. If the ocean fills these valleys, they become fjords.Full Answer >