Ch 16: Glaciers

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on glaciers and learn about types of glaciers and causes of glaciation. These lessons are part of our learning materials in earth science.

Glaciers - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Glaciers are large, thick masses of ice that have formed over a long period of time. These flowing bodies make up about a tenth of Earth's total land area. Through this series of video lessons on glaciers, you can learn about various components of glaciers as well as what causes glaciers to form. When you've finished this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Differentiate between valley glaciers and ice sheets
  • Identify processes that can cause glacial motion
  • Explain what happens when ice accumulation exceeds wastage and when wastage exceeds accumulation
  • Describe how the type of sediment in a pluvial lake - for example, mud or salt deposits - is related to variation in water level
  • Discern between the glacial erosion processes of plucking and abrasion

What Are Glaciers? - Definition, Types & ProcessesDescribe the formation of valley glaciers and ice sheets.
Glacier Movement: Definition & ProcessesLearn how glaciers move.
The Effect of Accumulation & Wastage on Glacier FormationUnderstand the effect of accumulation and wastage on glacier formation.
Glacial Erosion: Definition, Processes & FeaturesExplain how glaciers erode land by plucking and abrasion.
Glacial Deposition: Definition & ResultsDescribe the result of glaciers melting through deposition.
The Effect of Ice Age Glaciers: Formation of Pluvial LakesLearn about the effect of Ice Age glaciers, including the formation of pluvial lakes.
Glaciation: Definition, Periods & CausesDescribe the causes of glaciation, including tectonic plate movement and variations in Earth's orbit.

7 Lessons in Chapter 16: Glaciers
What Are Glaciers? - Definition, Types & Processes

1. What Are Glaciers? - Definition, Types & Processes

Learn about the two major types of glaciers: continental and alpine glaciers. These glaciers shape the landscape around them and affect our everyday lives, even if the nearest glacier is thousands of miles away.

Glacier Movement: Definition & Process

2. Glacier Movement: Definition & Process

Glaciers are mountains of ice that move. This movement is usually a combination of processes that include internal plastic deformation and basal sliding. Learn about these processes and factors that increase glacial flow rates.

The Effect of Accumulation & Wastage on Glacier Formation

3. The Effect of Accumulation & Wastage on Glacier Formation

Glaciers grow through a process called accumulation and waste away through a process called wastage, or ablation. Learn about these processes and how they are used to determine the health, or mass balance, of a glacier.

Glacial Erosion: Definition, Processes & Features

4. Glacial Erosion: Definition, Processes & Features

Glaciers are huge blocks of ice that move along the landscape, carving distinct features along the way. Learn about the glacial erosion processes, plucking and abrasion, and the features they create, including cirque, horns, arĂȘte and roche moutonnee.

Glacial Deposition: Definition & Results

5. Glacial Deposition: Definition & Results

As glaciers move and retreat, they push and drop rocks and sediments in a process known as glacial deposition. Learn about this glacial process and the interesting landforms that result from it, including moraines, erratics and drumlins, in this lesson.

The Effect of Ice Age Glaciers: Formation of Pluvial Lakes

6. The Effect of Ice Age Glaciers: Formation of Pluvial Lakes

Ice age glaciers caused erosion and deposition, which resulted in unique features such as horns, cirques, lakes, U-shaped valleys, moraines and drumlins. Indirect effects include pluvial lakes, isostatic depression and a change in sea level.

Causes of Glaciation

7. Causes of Glaciation

Glaciation refers to being covered with glaciers. Learn about the theories behind glaciation, including the changing continental positions and the Milankovitch theory, which points to three orbital variations: eccentricity, obliquity and precession, in this lesson.

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