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Glaciers: Mountain

  • By: Mauri S. Pelto
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

In mountainous locations where more snow crystals accumulate annually than melt, a glacier will form. Glaciers develop from the accumulation of snow; when this accumulation reaches a sufficient thickness, glacier ice forms. Under its own weight and the force of gravity, the snow and ice begin to move, and a glacier is born. Mountain glaciers attract our attention because they have created much of the beauty of alpine regions, creating cirques, alpine lakes, U-shaped valleys, horns, and arêtes. These glaciers are important in many alpine regions, as they are a key component of summer stream flow, providing runoff for irrigation, hydropower, and drinking water during the driest months of the years to many of the world's largest rivers. Mountain glaciers affect the sea level, lowering ...

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