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Lecture

GG101 Week 12 Lecture 1.docx

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Department
Geography
Course Code
GG101
Professor
James Hamilton

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GG101 Week 12 Lecture 1
Glacial Processes
Glacial Ice
o process: snow to firn to glacial ice
o firn = snow that survives a melt season
denser than wild snow
Glaciers
o large mass of perennial snow and ice, that typically shows movement in response
to gravity
Morphology
o ice sheets
large ice mass, of area greater than 50,000 km^2, these ice masses cover
the underlying topography
o ice caps
a large ice mass, sufficient to bury underlying topography but with an area
less than 50,000 km^2
example: Barnes ice cap, Baffin island
o ice field
a level area of ice of variable size
lacks the prominent dome shape seen in sheets and caps
example: Columbia Icefield Alberta/BC
Glacier Classification
o Valley Glaciers
a long narrow glacier confined between valley walls
usually fed by cirque glaciers or functions as an outlet glacier for ice
fields, caps or sheets
o Cirque Glaciers
a small body of ice, firn and snow that occupies a depression, hollow or
bowl on a mountain side
o Others (e.g. Piedmont)
o Thermal Regime (Temperature)
cold based (polar)
basal ice temperature is well below the pressure melting point
(freezing point), ice is frozen to the bed
warm based (temperature)
basal ice temperature is at or near the pressure melting point
(freezing point), ice is not frozen to its bed, water may be present
Mass Balance

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Description
GG101 Week 12 Lecture 1 Glacial Processes  Glacial Ice o process: snow to firn to glacial ice o firn = snow that survives a melt season  denser than wild snow  Glaciers o large mass of perennial snow and ice, that typically shows movement in response to gravity  Morphology o ice sheets  large ice mass, of area greater than 50,000 km^2, these ice masses cover the underlying topography o ice caps  a large ice mass, sufficient to bury underlying topography but with an area less than 50,000 km^2  example: Barnes ice cap, Baffin island o ice field  a level area of ice of variable size  lacks the prominent dome shape seen in sheets and caps  example: Columbia Icefield Alberta/BC  Glacier Classification o Valley Glaciers  a long narrow glacier confined between valley walls  usually fed by cirque glaciers or functions as an outlet glacier for ice fields, caps or sheets o Cirque Glaciers  a small body of ice, firn and snow that occupies a depression, hollow or bowl on a mountain side o Others (e.g. Piedmont) o Thermal Regime (Temperature)  cold based (polar)  basal ice temperature is well below the pressure melting point (freezing point), ice is frozen to the bed  warm based (temperature)  basal ice temperature is at or near the pressure melting point (freezing point), ice is not frozen to its bed, water may be present  Mass Balance o the annual budget between inputs (precipitation) and outputs (melting, evaporation, sublimation, etc) for a glacier  if mass balance is positive, the glacier gains mass:  more inputs than outputs  glacier gets bigger  if mass balance is negative, the glacier loses mass:  more output than inputs  glacier gets smaller o a glacier may be divided into:  Accumulation Zone  where mass balance is positive  Ablation Zone  where mass balance is negative  ice moving from accumulation zone to ablation zone  Zones and Equilibrium (firn) line  flow of ice within a glacier  Motion of Glacial Ice o rates of movement are typically metres to tens of metres per year  rates vary with (3 variables) ice temperature, slope and ice thickness
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