part of a glacier with rapid flow and a chaotic crevassed surface; occurs where the glacier bed steepenes or narrows.
Icefalls on three parallel glaciers. (Photo courtesy of Tom Lowell, University of Cincinnati.)


a piece of ice that has broken off from the end of a glacier that terminates in water.
Lamplugh Glacier, in Glacier Bay Alaska, shows the terminus of a typical tidewater glacier. The terminus of the glacier is heavily crevassed and jagged, and is calving small icebergs. For scale, note the man standing on the rocks in the foreground (near the center of the photograph). This...

ice-cored glacier

a rock glacier that has a buried core of ice.

ice-cemented glacier

a rock glacier that has interstitial ice a meter or so below the surface.

ice worm

an oligochaete worm that lives on temperate glaciers or perennial snow; there are several species that range in color from yellowish-brown to reddish-brown or black; they are usually less than 1 millimeter (0.04 inch) in diameter and average about 3 millimeters (0.1 inch) long; some eat red algae.

ice wall

an ice cliff forming the seaward margin of an inland ice sheet, ice piedmont or ice rise; the rock basement may be at or below sea level.

ice stream

(1) a current of ice in an ice sheet or ice cap that flows faster than the surrounding ice (2) sometimes refers to the confluent sections of a branched-valley glacier (3) obsolete synonym of valley glaciers.

ice shelf

portion of an ice sheet that spreads out over water.

ice sheet

a dome-shaped mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 square kilometers (12 million acres) (e.g., the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets).

ice quake

a shaking of ice caused by crevasse formation or jerky motion.


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