a way that snow or ice can move by deforming its internal structure.

constructive metamorphism

snow metamorphism that adds molecules to sharpen the comers and edges of an ice crystal.

compression flow

flow that occurs when glacier motion is decelerating down-slope.

cold glacier

glacier in which most of the ice is below the pressure melting point; nonetheless, the glacier's surface may be susceptible to melt due to incoming solar radiation, and the ice at the rock/ice interface may be warmed as a result of the natural (geothermal) heat from the earth's surface.

cirque glacier

glacier that resides in basins or amphitheaters near ridge crests; most cirque glaciers have a characteristic circular shape, with their width as wide or wider than their length.


bowl shape or amphitheater usually sculpted out of the mountain terrain by a cirque glacier.
Cirque on Cirque Mountain in the Torngat Mountains, Newfoundland, Canada. (Photo courtesy of Hazen Russel, Natural Resources Canada. Copyright Terrain Sciences Division, Geological Survey of Canada.)


striations or marks left on the surface of exposed bedrock caused by the advance and retreat of glacier ice.
Close up of chatter marks, Mt. Sirius, Antarctica. Lens cap in the photo is five centimeters across. (Photo courtesy of Tom Lowell, University of Cincinnati.)

catchment glacier

a semipermanent mass of firn formed by drifted snow behind obstructions or in the ground; also called a snowdrift glacier or a drift glacier.

calving glacier

glacier that loses material by calving, usually a glacier that terminates in sea, lake, or river water.


process by which ice breaks off a glacier's terminus; usually the term is reserved for tidewater glaciers or glaciers that end in lakes, but it can refer to ice that falls from hanging glaciers.
Ice pinnacle separating from Perito Moreno Glacier. (Photo courtesy of Martyn Clark.)


Subscribe to RSS - glaciers