What is a cirque glacier?

Question:

What is a cirque glacier?

Glaciers:

Glaciers are massive bodies of ice that flow steadily with the pull of gravity. They are formed when snow is able to accumulate throughout the entire year. As more snow is added, the pressure increases on the bottom layers, re-crystalizing the snowflakes into compacted ice.

Answer and Explanation:

A cirque glacier is a kind of glacier that occurs in roughly circular depressions within mountains. This carves a bowl-shaped valley into the side or base of the mountain, a depression called a cirque. If we think of a valley glacier as looking something like a frozen river, then a cirque glacier looks more like a frozen lake (although it is technically still flowing). If a cirque glacier becomes large enough and starts moving out of its depression, it may form a valley glacier. Similarly, if a valley glacier starts melting and recedes far enough, it may turn back into a cirque glacier.


Learn more about this topic:

What Are Glaciers? - Definition, Types & Processes

from DSST Environmental Science: Study Guide & Test Prep

Chapter 5 / Lesson 2
74K

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