How Does a Glacier Form?


What conditions are necessary for a glacier to form?

  • Glaciers can only form in polar regions or high mountains. This is because in those areas summer does get hot enough to melt all of the snow. The glaciers will not be at any more than a 30-degree angle on the bottom. If the snow/ice mixture is at more of an angel than that then it will fall as an avalanche (crumble and separate). A glacier is only considered a glacier after it has begun moving.

How does snow become a glacier?

  • Snow falls on the flat surfaces, but doesn't melt in the summer. So each year the snow falls on top of the snow from the year before. It also can turn to ice when the snow hits the ground and initially melts a bit. When the snow and ice layers reach a depth of about 150 feet they begin to crystalize. The heavier the glacier becomes year after year, the more likely that gravity will take over and the snow-ice mixture is pulled downward. After that happens it is now categorized as a glacier.

Where do the formed glaciers end up?

  • The glaciers will slide down mountains and usually end up in either one of two places: a valley or an ocean. The most common places to find these glaciers is in Antarctica, Alaska, Iceland and Greenland.

What kinds of formed glaciers are there?

  • There are four main types of glaciers: continental, ice caps, piedmont and valley. Continental glaciers are the largest. Because of their size they don't move very fast. They are the glaciers most people think about when they hear the word glacier. Ice caps are the smallest of the glacier family. Piedmont glaciers are a decent size and are seen at the bottom of mountains. Valley glaciers got their start at the top of a high mountain and then fell along the path of an old river to end up in a valley.

  • Photo Credit Glacier
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How Are Fjords Formed?

    A fjord forms where a glacier cut a gorge below sea level and then backed off. The U-shaped valley left behind fills...

  • What Is Glacial Till?

    A glacier is a mass of accumulated snow and ice that originates in a mountain range and takes hundreds to thousands of...

  • How to Make a Glacier

    In Antartica, the landmass is covered with ice. In fact, there are two main glaciers that cover the landmass: the East Antartic...

  • List & Describe Four Aquatic Ecosystems

    Freshwater and marine environments mark a primary break in aquatic ecosystems; marine environments contain a high level of salinity (salt concentration), whereas...

  • What Effects Do Glaciers Have on the Earth's Surface?

    Glaciers involve incredibly large bodies of frozen water that take years to travel distances. Because they involve such large masses of water...

  • How Does a Glacier Form?

    A glacier is a consolidated ice mass that moves over time, usually as a result of gravity, and glaciers form by compacted...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!