Questions tagged [glaciology]

The [glaciology] tag concerns all forms of snow and ice on Earth and in space. And the marks left by ancient glaciers.

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Is a glacier advancing or retreating? How to tell?

What are the most common ways you would use to tell whether a given mountain glacier is advancing or retreating, judging only by its present state by looking at it? Please list anything you can think ...
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How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

How could this pyramidal peak have been formed in Antarctica? Little is known about it as far as I know but what is known is that its miles away from any existing plate boundary and its shape is also ...
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How will sea level rise be distributed across the globe?

Sea level rise from melting glaciers will not be uniformly distributed across the globe. However, it isn't clear to me what places will have the most and least extreme changes in sea level rise. I ...
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How do glaciers move? Could Antarctica be separated?

Consider the example of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Ice platforms are attached to glaciers such that they prevent surrounding warm air from directly melting the glaciers. This is an important aspect of ice ...
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The giant 6,000 km$^2$ iceberg A-68; will ground-truth telemetry supplement satellite tracking data?

update 2: FIRST images of A-68 iceberg not taken from a satellite in space but from the air are out. On this NASA Earth Observatory web page are areal images from NASA's Operation IceBridge taken from ...
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How are 'road-like passages' between Himalayan mountains formed?

If you take a look at this picture you can see what looks like almost nicely cut out 'roads' between the mountains. What forces are responsible for this?
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If an asteroid strikes a glacier, does it make a print on the land below?

If an asteroid strikes a glacier, does it make a print on the land below? For example, a 10 km wide asteroid on a 2 km thick glacier, or a 2 km wide asteroid on a 2 km thick glacier.
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Considering how old the Antarctic ice cover is, why isn't it much thicker?

The Wikipedia article on the subject of the "Antarctic ice sheet" says that: The icing of Antarctica began in the middle Eocene about 45.5 million years ago and escalated during the Eocene–...
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Can ice caps reform if they disappear?

Excuse my ignorance. I'm under the impression that there are various types of ice at the poles, but I don't know the difference or the significance of each type, so, in terms of whatever is actually ...
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Why do fjords have sills?

I have read about some of the geologic processes that are related to the formation of fjords. Is the presence of sills in fjords related to the deposition of glacial moraine?
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Esker vs. Kame vs. Drumlin - what's the difference?

In researching glacial features, I came across the terms esker, drumlin, and kame. I know that they are all depositional features that are shaped like a mound. My impression is that an esker is longer ...
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Current temperature increase VS decrease during the little ice age

Looking at the following temperature reconstructions i have two questions (source: wikipedia): Why is the y-axis centered around -0.2 °C? Why are the consequences of the current temperature ...
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Need help understanding this satellite image of Larson C ice shelf

The false color image below shows synthetic aperture radar imaging from ESA's Sentinel-1 satellite. The map from the 20-Jan-2017 BBC article Larsen ice crack continues to open up illustrates the same ...
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Reults of the glacials and interglacials of the ice age on the soil

I have read that the Earth has undergone five ice ages, the latest one is the Quaternary glaciation. I know that in the ice age there are glacial periods and interglacial periods, and we are currently ...
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Is this 70km crack in an ice shelf of Antarctica remarkable, or a regular occurrence?

I've just seen the LiveScience article 70-Mile-Long Crack Opens Up in Anatarctica. I'm not sure if the title is a bit sensational or not, the crack is in an ice shelf, not the continent of Antarctica. ...
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Was there once a glacier over Starcke national park in Queensland Australia?

I was randomly exploring Google Earth when I came across some sort of rock formation in northern Australia. The location of the rock formation with respect to Australia is shown below. It is in or ...
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Will increased precipitation in Antarctica prevent sea level rise?

It has been suggested that global warming will lead to increased precipitation in parts of Antarctica. This would sequester water in the ice sheet, preventing sea level rise. However, the slope (and ...
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Is glacier growing a hoax?

There is a wikipedia page on glacier growing, and also a Master thesis has apparently been written on the subject, investigating this practice in Northern Pakistan. On the one hand, I have read (I'm ...
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Ice Age/Interglacial Period Cycle

What happens if an Ice Age or Interglacial Period Cycle starts? I don't know what exactly what happened then.
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Doesn't the sublimation rate on glaciers depend on the (specific) latent heat of sublimation of water ice?

On p. 6 of this article: Bliss, A.K., Cuffey, K.M., Kavanaugh, J.L., 2011. Sublimation and surface energy budget of Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology 57, 684–696. There is an ...
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How much of Earth's surface would be covered by water if all ice melted? [duplicate]

I'm trying to find how much water would be on the surface of Earth and how much surface would it cover (how much land will remain) if all the ice at the North and South Poles (and everywhere else) ...
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How significant is human influence on seismic activity?

Here's a graph from johnstonsarchive.net showing energy released by earthquakes and, however reliable this graph is, it shows huge differences in earthquake activity. About how big percent is the ...
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When will glaciation resume? Has global warming delayed return to global cooling?

As far as I understand, we are currently living in the Holocene, an interglacial period of the Quaternary glaciation, i.e. the current ice age that has so far lasted 2.6 million years. The Holocene ...
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For what percentage of the earth's history has there been permanent ice?

Wikipedia comments here that "Permanent ice is actually a rare phenomenon in the history of the Earth, occurring only during the 20% of the time that the planet is under an icehouse effect." A "...
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At what rate are the polar ice caps shrinking?

At what rate is loss of polar ice caps occurring? Do we have enough data to distinguish a meaningful trend? If we look at the trend since we have satellite measurements (40 years or so), is that ...
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Siberia (Beringia) during last glacier period

Today, Northern Russia is considered quite cold. It is not populated because it has low biological productivity: low light and cold. It can be below -50 at winter and 10 C at summer peak. It is low ...
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What is more important in Antarctica calving or basal melting of the ice shelves?

Ice shelves are present along 75% of Antarctica coast and cover over 1.5 million km2. The two main processes causing mass loss of the ice shelf are basal melting and calving. Which of the two ...
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Typical values of Glen flow law for glaciers?

The Glen flow law for glaciers is a common relationship linking stress to strain. At its simplest, $\Sigma = k\tau^n$ where $\tau$ is stress, $\Sigma$ is strain, and $n$ is roughly 3. I understand ...
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Can glaciers be less than 30m thick?

The wikipedia page on Ice-sheet dynamics claims that: Ice will not flow until it has reached a thickness of 30 meters (98 ft) And this geography website claims that To be called a glacier, a ...
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Is this article self-contradictory, or am I missing something?

This article: Anderson, C. H., C. J. Behrens, G. A. Floyd, and M. R. Vining. 1998. “Crater Firn Caves of Mount St. Helens, Washington.” Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 60: 44–50. discusses, among ...
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Oxygen isotope ratio and Glaciers

The question is basically: During the Cretaceous there were no continental ice sheets. The ratio of O-18/O-16 in sea water was: a) Higher than today b) Lower than today The answer ...
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Traits of invaded ecosystems? Are my compost worms a threat to New York?

I was shocked to learn that there were few native worms in the glaciated portion of North America. I use worms indoors to compost paper and kitchen scraps. I don't think there is much chance of ...
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When will the Final Ice Age happen?

As the Sun's luminosity slowly rises, the Earth's surface temperature will climb. Will Earth ever be too warm to have any more glacial periods? If so, when will that be? Edit: The existing answer ...
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Is there a name for this type of ice crystal?

Recently, I took the following picture: I have read about this phenomenon and I think it is caused by water vapour that is pressed out of the ground and then freezes due to low temperature. However, ...
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Converting glacier volume to mass: what ice density to use?

The density of ice is 0.9167 g/cm3 at 0 °C (under atmospheric pressure). I know of two factors that may influence this (are there more?) Pressure The glaciology faq (Common Questions and Myths ...
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How do we use oxygen isotopes as temperature proxy?

As far as I know scientists use oxygen isotope 16 to 18 ratio in air trapped in glaciers (or in old foraminiftera shells) as proxy for temperature in the past. I know that $\ce{^18O}$ is heavier, and ...
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Is Antarctic sea ice at record levels?

Every time I read a news article about Antarctic ice extent, I don't seem to have a clear answer as to what the deal is. If I look at the February sea ice extent from the National Snow and Ice Data ...
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How strong can a glacial icequake get?

While researching Antarctic geology, I came across the term 'icequake' in the abstract to the article Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: The relationship between icequake locations and ...
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What geophysical knowledge have we learned by the construction of IceCube?

The IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records neutrino interactions. It has lead to many fascinating new discoveries in the field of astrophysics (e.g., 1, 2) and it was awarded "...
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How would an icicle "grow" upwards?

The other day a friend of my dad's showed him a picture of an icicle that appeared to be "growing" upwards out of a crack in a sidewalk. There were no roofs, overhangs or vehicles parked near by... It ...
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How do perennial rivers in high alpine areas maintain year round flows?

We have several perennial rivers in my country that originate out of high altitude alpine glacier melt. I can understand snow or glacier melting in the summer to increase the flows but it is observed ...
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What are the non-anthropogenic causes of The Netherlands' low elevation?

A large area of The Netherlands is below sea level. There are two non-anthropogenic reasons that I can think of: Compaction of delta sediments that lie below the country, A side effect of the ...
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Glaciology: odd pattern of smooth and ribbed chunks of ice in Antartica

At -69.184611, -68.124276 (just east of the Bugge Islands) there is a triangular ice shelf. On satellite images (as seen on Google/Bing maps) you can see it is riddled with --for lack of a clearer ...
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What evidence is there linking melting ice caps and changes in tectonic movement?

Reading one of my other questions, How much would the Greenland landmass isostatic rebound contribute to long term climate change?, a subsequent question is what, if any, effect the isostatic rebound ...
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About moving ice bergs northwards to slow down all the melting a tiny bit. ( Clearing away navigation hazards is a side effect of this.)

I read somewhere someone someone had the idea to try to move a 'small' iceberg with giant tugboats used to move oil-rigs. I thought if an Iceberg could be moved, why not move it $NORTHWARD$ maybe ...