meltwater conduit

a channel within, underneath, on top of, or near the side of a glacier that drains meltwater out of the glacier; usually kept open by the frictional heating of flowing water that melts the ice walls of the conduit.

medial moraine

a ridge-shaped moraine in the middle of a glacier originating from a rock outcrop, nunatak, or the converging lateral moraines of two or more ice streams.

mass balance

the difference between accumulation and ablation on a glacier; usually calculated on an annual basis.

marginal crevasse

a crevasse near the side of a glacier formed as the glacier moves past stationary valley walls; usually oriented about 45 degrees up-glacier from the side wall.

lateral moraine

a ridge-shaped moraine deposited at the side of a glacier and composed of material eroded from the valley walls by the moving glacier.

kinetic-growth metamorphism

snow metamorphism that builds angular facets on crystals and makes cup and scroll shaped crystals.


(1) a large outburst flood that usually occurs when a glacially dammed lake drains catastrophically (2) any catastrophic release of water from a glacier.

interstitial ice

ice formed in narrow spaces between small rocks and sediment in soil.

inland ice sheet

an ice sheet of considerable thickness and an area of more than about 50,000 square kilometers (12.4 million acres), resting on rock; inland ice sheets near sea level may merge into ice shelves.


a mass of glacier ice; similar to an ice cap, and usually smaller and lacking a dome-like shape; somewhat controlled by terrain.
Kalstenius Icefield, located on Ellesmere Island, Canada, shows vast stretches of ice. The icefield produces multiple outlet glaciers that flow into a larger valley glacier. The glacier in this photograph is three miles wide. (Photo courtesy of the Royal Canadian Air Force, archived at the World...


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