icebergs and ice shelves

ice rise

a mass of ice resting on rock and surrounded either by an ice shelf, or partly by an ice shelf and partly by sea; no rock is exposed and there may be none above sea level; ice rises often have a dome-shaped surface; the largest known is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) across.

ice piedmont

ice covering a costal strip of low-lying land backed by mountains; the surface of an ice piedmont slopes gently seawards and may be anything from 1 to 50 kilometers (0.6 to 31 miles) wide, fringing long stretches of coastline with ice cliffs; ice piedmonts frequently merge into ice shelves; a very narrow ice piedmont may be called an ice fringe.

ice island

a form of tabular berg found in the Arctic Ocean, with a thickness of 30 - 50 meters (33 to 55 yards) and an area from a few thousand square meters to 500 square kilometers (123,550 acres); ice islands often have an undulating surface, which gives them a ribbed appearance from the air.

ice front

the vertical cliff forming the seaward face of an ice shelf or other floating glacier, varying in height from 2 to 50 meters (2.2 to 55 yards) above sea level.

ice fringe

a very narrow ice piedmont, extending less than about 1 km inland from the sea.


an iceberg less than 2 meters (6.6 feet) across that floats with less than 1 meter (3.3 feet) showing above water; smaller than a bergy bit.

glacier tongue

an extension of a glacier or ice stream projecting seaward, usually afloat.

fluted berg

an iceberg that is grooved into a curtain-like pattern; thought to be carved by small meltwater streams.

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.)


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