What are glaciers?

Glacier definition: 
A glacier is a slowly moving mass or river of ice formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow on mountains or near the poles.

Oxford Dictionary

Glaciers | definition of glacier
Geography topics for you to learn and enjoy

Glacier facts

1  Glaciers larger than 50,000 sq, kilometres are called ice sheets.
2  Scientists believe there are glaciers on Mars.
3  Glaciers can move as fast as 20-30 metres a day.
4 The movement of some glaciers is so great that it causes earthquakes.
5  Glaciers are present on every continent and in about 50 countries.
6  Glaciers can move large boulders that weight several tonnes. 


​7  Glaciers can be so heavy, they press the earth down many metres into the ground. When glaciers retreat, the earth springs back. Scotland is still rising, by a few centimetres each year, after the last ice age pushed it heavily into the ground. 

8 Valleys formed by glaciers are a different shape to those formed by rivers. 

9  Some mountains in the Andes near the Atacama desert are cold enough for glaciers but none exist as the super-arid conditions prevent snow from falling to seed them.

10  The two largest ice sheets are in Greenland and Antarctica. Scientists predict that if they were to melt, the sea level would rise by 70 metres. 

Glacier features



Pyramidal peak

Here are some of the land features that are created by glaciers. What other features are created by glaciers? How would you find out? Can you build up an image bank of pictures which illustrate these different features?


Do you want to know all about glaciers? Are you looking for more information to help you with your understanding about how glaciers are formed and how they are changing? Then see below for a collection of thought provoking images and glacier facts to help you understand more about the Geography topic of glaciers and glaciation.