Glacier Types: Hanging

When a major valley glacier system retreats and thins, sometimes the tributary glaciers are left in smaller valleys high above the shrunken central glacier surface. These are called hanging glaciers. If the entire system has melted and disappeared, the empty high valleys are called hanging valleys.

Historic photograph of Jack Glacier, Washington state, 1966Jack Glacier is a hanging glacier in Washington state, located on the steep crest of a peak. The glacier is no longer labeled on the United States Geological Survey maps and may no longer exist. —Credit: Photograph by Austin Post. 1966. Jack Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media.

Photograph of a pair of hanging glaciers in Antarctica, 2000A pair of hanging glaciers, Hart (left) and Meserve (right), begin to flow down into Wright Valley in Victoria Land, Antarctica. —Credit: Copyright Bruce D. Marsh. 2000. McDV_FieldPhoto_2000_00869: From the Data Conservancy McMurdo Dry Valleys Field Photo Collection, Sheridan Libraries, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD U.S.A. Digital media

Historic photograph of Dana Glacier, Washington state, 1960Dana Glacier, located in the northern Cascades in Washington state, culminates in an icefall as the glacier flows over a nearly vertical cliff. —Credit: Photograph by Austin Post. 1960. Dana Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media.