Glacier Types: Piedmont

Piedmont glaciers occur when steep valley glaciers spill into relatively flat plains, where they spread out into bulb-like lobes.

Space Shuttle photograph of Malaspina Glacier, AlaskaThe massive lobe of Malaspina Glacier in Alaska is clearly visible in this photograph taken during Space Shuttle flight STS028 in 1989. Malaspina Glacier is one of the most famous examples of this type of glacier, and is the largest piedmont glacier in the world. Spilling out of the Seward Ice Field, visibile near the top of the photograph, Malaspina Glacier covers more than 3,900 square kilometers (about 1,500 square miles) as it spreads across the coastal plain. The small glacier to the left is Agassiz Glacier. —Credit: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth."

Photograph of Canada Glacier, AntarcticaCanada Glacier, located in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, shows the bulbous terminus typical of a piedmont glacier. —Credit: Brook Peterson