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Glacial Landforms

Glacial Landforms
By Colin Bowen
colin.bowen@colorado.edu
By Colin Bowen
colin.bowen@colorado.edu
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Erosional Landforms Created
by Alpine Glaciation
Cirque
Arte
Col
Horn
Bergschrund
Tarn
Paternoster Lake
HangingValley
V & U shapedValleys
Fjord
Erratics
TruncatedSpurs
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Cirque
Cirque: A scooped-out,
amphitheater shaped
basin at the head of an
alpine glacier.

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Artes: (knife-edge in French) A
sharp sawtooth or serrated ridge
that divides two cirque basins.
Artes
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Col
Col: A saddle-like narrow depression formed by two
headward eroding cirques that reduce an arte.
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Horn
Horn: A pyramidal, sharp-pointed peak that results when
several cirques glaciers gorge an individual mountain
summit from all sides.
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Bergschrund
Bergschrund: These form when a crevasse or wide crack opens along the
headwall of a glacier; most visible in the summer when covering snow is
gone.
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Tarns
Tarns: A small mountain lake especially
one that collects in a cirque basin behind
risers of rock material or in an ice gouged
depression.
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Paternoster Lake: One of a series of small,
circular stair-stepped lake formed in
individual rock basins aligned down the
course of a glaciated valley.
Paternoster Lakes
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Hanging Valleys
HangingValley:
Valleyscarvedby
tributaryglaciersthat
areleft standinghigh
abovetheprimary
valleyfloor.
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V & U shapedValleys
V-Shapedvalleysare
typicallyformed
fromstreamsor
riversslowlycutting
throughtheearth.
U-Shapedvalleysoccur inpost
glaciationconditionswherethe
continual freezeandthawhas
weatheredawaytherock walls.
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Fjord
Fjord: A drowned glaciated valley or glacial trough
along a seacoast.
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Erratics
Erratics: An unique rock carried by a glacial formation that deviates in
size and or type relative to the native area.
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Truncated Spurs: Occur where a glacier
carves its way though rock, cutting off
the edges of interlocking spurs.
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Depositional Landforms Created
by Alpine Glaciation
Glacial Drift: A general term for all glacial deposits both sorted and
unsorted.
Stratified Drift: Sediments deposited by glacial meltwater that are
sorted by size.
Tills: Unstratified and unsorted debris from ice deposits.
Moraines:
Valley Train Deposit:
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Moraines
Lateral Moraines: A depositionof sedimentsalongboth
sidesof aglacier.
Medial Moraine: A depositionof sedimentsbetween
twolateral moraines.
Terminal Moraine: Erodeddebristhat isdroppedat
theglaciersfarthest extent.
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Valley Train Deposit
Valley Train Deposits: Material deposited down-
valley of a glacier via melt-water.
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Erosional and Depositional Landforms Created
by Continental Glaciation
Till Plain:
OutwashPlain:
Esker:
Kettle:
Kame:
RocheMountonne:
Drumlin:
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Till Plain
Till Plain: Forms behind a end moraine; it features unstratified coarse
till, has low and rolling relief, and has a deranged drainage pattern.
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Outwash Plain
OutwashPlains: AreGlacial streamdepositsof stratifieddrift
frommelt-water, braided, andoverloaded. Theyoccur
beyondaglacial morainal deposit.
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Esker
Esker: A sinuously curving, narrow deposit of coarse gravel that forms
along a melt-water stream channel, developing in a tunnel beneath a
glacier.
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Kettle
Formswhenanisolatedblock of
icepersistsinagroundmoraine,
anoutwashplainor valleyfloor
after aglacier retreats; asthe
block finallymelts, it leaves
behindasteepsidedholethat
frequentlyfillswithwater.
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Kame
Kame: A depositional featureof glaciation; a
small hill of poorlysortedsandandgravel that
accumulatesincrevassesor inicecaused
indentationsinthesurface.
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Roche Mountonne:
Roche Mountonne: An asymmetrical hill of exposed bedrock;
displays a gently sloping upstream side that has been smoothed and
polished by a glacier and an abrupt, steep downstream side.
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Drumlin
Drumlin: composedof till (unstratified, unsorted) andis
streamlineinthedirectionof continental icemovement-blunt end
upstreamandtaperedenddownstreamwitharoundedsummit.
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Periglacial Landscapes
Periglacial: Cold climate processes, landforms, and topographic
features along the margins of glaciers, past and present; periglacial
characteristics exist on more than 20% of the earths land surface;
includes
Permafrost
Frost action
Ground ice
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Geography of Permafrost
Permafrost: Forms when soil or rock temperature remains below 0
degrees Celsius for at least two years in areas consider periglacial.
Based on temperature rather than the presence of water.
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Continuous and Discontinuous Permafrost
Continuous Area: Regions poleward of the -7 degree Celsius mean
annual temperature isotherm.
Affects all surfaces except those under deep lakes or rivers
Discontinuous Area: Disappears near the -1 degree Celsius mean
annual temperature isotherm.
Cryotic (frozen)
Noncryotic (unfrozen)
Alpine Permafrost: Microclimatic factors such as slope orientation and
snow cover are important in sustaining these lower latitude regions
The Colorado Rockies experience continuous permafrost down to an
elevation of 11,150ft and discontinuous permafrost to 5600ft.
Active Layer: Seasonally
frozen ground between the
subsurface permafrost and
the ground layer.
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Ground Ice
Ground Ice: Subsurface water that is frozen in regions of permafrost.
Pore Ice: Subsurface water frozen in the soils pore spaces.
Lenses/Veins: channels extending in any direction
Segregated Ice: Layer of buried ice that increases in mass by accreting
water as the ground freezes
Intrusive Ice: The freezing of water injected under pressure, as in pingo
Wedge Ice: Surface water entering a crack and freezing.
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Frost Action
The 9% expansion of water as it freezes creates a strong mechanical
force.
Frost Heaving: (vertical movement)
Frost Thrusting: (horizontal movement)
Cryoturbation: Soil horizons may be disturbed by frost action and
appear churned.
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Frost Action Landforms
Pingo: Large area of frozen ground can develop a heaved up, circular,
ice cored mound.
Palsa: Round or elliptical mound of peat containing a thin perennial ice
lense, rather than a core.
Patterned Ground: An area with a system of ground ice and frost action
develops sorted and unsorted accumulations of rock at the surface that
take the shape of polygons.
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Gelifluction and Solifuction
Solifuction: The flow of soil during a thaw cycle from high to lower
elevation.
Gelifluction: The flow of soil during a thaw cycle from high to lower
elevation during the presence of ground ice or permafrost.
Resulting in the flattening of the landscape with noticeable sag
marks.
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Human Impact
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