In this topic, we look at the location, growth and nature of glaciers. We see how glaciers are formed and then identify the landforms created by glaciers. Looking at glacier diagrams helps us to understand the important geographic content and skills necessary when learning about glaciation processes. When you have looked at these diagrams, why not have a go at sketching a diagram of your own similar to these.
Features of a glacier
There are many features to do with glaciers and glaciation which are difficult to comprehend unless they are see. Through the use of these diagrams, you can start to understand what the different features are.
What happens when glaciers meet the sea?
This diagram, which comes from the excellent website, www.antarcticglaciers.org, shows what happens when glaciers meet the sea. It explains how glaciers become ice shelfs and how the melting of ice shelfs occurs on the top of the glacier, via the sun, and underneath the glacier, via the ocean water.
They also have some up to date information on the collapse of the ice sheets in Antarctica as was reported recently in the press and on how the process is becoming irreversible.
Mapping the retreating glaciers
There are many examples of diagrams like this one which record the retreating glaciers. This one shows the Gangotri glacier which feeds into the mighty Ganges river.
The Gangotri glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the Himalayas and it has had accurate measurements taken of it since 1780. The measurements show that the glacier has been retreating since 1780 and that in the last 40 years, the rate that the glacier has been retreating has been speeding up.