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cold glacier


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A glacier with its base well below 0 °C, unlubricated by meltwater, and therefore frozen to the bedrock. Accumulation is slow; snow may take 150 years to turn to ice. Cold glaciers move very slowly; rates of 1–2 m per year are not uncommon (Fitzsimmons et al. (2000) Geol. Soc. London, special pub. 176), therefore they cause very little erosion through abrasion, although plucking may be reinforced. Where subglacial sediments are frozen to a cold glacier base, shear failure will occur at the bottom of the frozen zone, as high pore water pressures develop there (Owen and Derbyshire (1993) Zeitschrift 76). See Glasser et al. (1998) J. Glaciol. 44 on Kongsvegen, Svalbard, and its role in landform genesis; see also Vaughn and White (2000) Geology 28 on entrainment at cold glacier beds.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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