Glaciers are often described as 'rivers of ice'. People who haven't stood on them, or studied them, often imagine them as wide river shaped masses of ice, like the stuff in your fridge at home, with a covering of fresh white snow. They imagine it flowing slowly downhill, just like a river in slow motion, eventually melting and becoming a 'normal' river.
Ask a geographer to describe a glacier and you'll probably get a rather different answer. I've stood on glaciers where there wasn't the slightest sign of ice or snow, sometimes where there was no sign of any movement, and at other times the ground under my feet was constantly groaning and 'pinging' as the ice cracked and fractured.
To learn about how glaciers are formed, and why and
how they flow, read this article about
How Glaciers Form And Flow . It will be a good idea to print a copy
of the page when you go there.
After you have read the article about how glaciers form and move, make some brief notes under the following headings...
1. What conditions must exist for a glacier to form?
We are going to study four types of glacier; Niche Glaciers, Corrie Glaciers, Valley Glaciers and Ice Caps.
It is best to learn about them in that order because
a Niche Glacier can become a Corrie Glacier, Corrie Glaciers may form Valley
Glaciers, and Ice Caps may contain all three of the other types of glacier!
Read this account of how Niche and Corrie Glaciers are formed, then either print out a copy for your file or make some brief notes. Make sure that you know of a case study you can use in the examinations. A good one is mentioned in the article ( Clue: There is a picture of it!)
You will now have to carry out some research of your own...
a) The name of an existing example of each type of glacier, it's location and some brief details about it.
b) The name of a place in the UK that used to have an example of each type of glacier. (For example, Red Tarn on Helvellyn used to be the source of a corrie glacier). Find out about the location of each example, the features that prove that a glacier used to be there, and then make some brief notes about its history.
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