When they form in the high mountains, these rivers of ice are called alpine glaciers. They flow down through the mountains, cutting and breaking up the rocks, creating sharp peaks, ridges and gouging out unique, U-shaped valleys.

A glacier that is surrounded by mountains is called an alpine or mountain glacier. They are a persistent body of snow that moves under its weight at a slow pace. Alpine glaciers are a sheet of snow that forms over a cirque or high rock basin. The iceberg’s uppermost layer is brittle, but the ice beneath behaves like a plastic substance flowing gently.

The glacier usually forms in a cirque or high rock basin where snow accumulates throughout the year. The most amazing fact about this glacier is that the rate of accumulation at the upper surface balances the rate of evaporation and melting at the lower end.

The glacier begins to occupy a sloping valley situated in between the creeks or steep rock walls. Following that, the accumulation of snow occurs at the upper part of the bowl-shaped depression called a cirque.

The glacial ice starts flowing downwards, slowly abrading and plucking the bedrock. The accumulation of snow that is compacting and recrystallizing is called firn.

The flow then accelerates across the steep rock where the deep crevasses or gaping fractures mark the icefall. The lower part of the glacier denotes ablation. As the ice thins, it evaporates and melts, thereby losing its plasticity. There are chances of developing fissures, as the glacier tries depositing debris at the terminus when it melts.


Picture Credit : Google 

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