polar ice cap

a high-latitude region covered in ice; not a true ice cap, which are less than 50,000 square kilometers (12.4 million acres) and are always over land; more like an ice sheet; also called polar ice sheet.

polar glacier

a glacier entirely below freezing, except possibly for a thin layer of melt near the surface during summer or near the bed; polar glaciers are found only in polar regions of the globe or at high altitudes.

piedmont glacier

large ice lobe spread out over surrounding terrain, associated with the terminus of a large mountain valley glacier.
The massive lobe of Malaspina Glacier in Alaska is clearly visible in this photograph taken from a Space Shuttle flight in 1989. Agassiz Glacier is the smaller glacier to the left. The Malaspina Glacier is one of the most famous examples of this type of glacier, and is the largest piedmont...

periglacial processes

processes associated with frost action in cold, nonglacial environments.

periglacial phenomena

landforms and soil characteristics produced by periglacial processes.


the conditions, processes and landforms associated with cold, nonglacial environments.


the extreme relief of ablation hollows found most often at high altitudes in the tropics; the resulting spikes of snow resemble repentant souls.

outlet glacier

a valley glacier which drains an inland ice sheet or ice cap and flows through a gap in peripheral mountains.

outburst flood

any catastrophic flooding from a glacier; may originate from trapped water in cavities inside a glacier or at the margins of glaciers or from lakes that are dammed by flowing glaciers.


alternate bands of light and dark ice seen on a glacier surface.
Ogives, Juno Icefield, Alaska


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