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The Variety Of Glacial Landscapes Results From Distinctive Processes. Discuss

1039 words - 5 pages

Glacial landscapes are found on much of the Earth’s surface. They vary in their characteristics and different landforms which are created by different processes. Cold environments possess a wide variety of distinctive landforms, reflecting the diversity of past or present geomorphological processes. Some of these processes are unique to cold environments, while others are found elsewhere. Glacial environments are landscapes of glaciers and ice sheets. The largest single glacial environment is the Antarctic ice sheet and surrounding ice shelves, other extensive glacial environments include green land ice sheet and glaciated regions of the high arctic, Alaska and Patagonia in South America.
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It forms landforms like striations which can help in relict areas to show the direction of ice flow. On a larger scale processes like freeze thaw causes fragments of rock to break off. This happens as when water freezes it expands to 9-10% of its volume, in glacial environments this happens as temperatures fluctuate between day and night. So when water melts in the day it can enter fractures in rocks and at night it freezes and expands which causes the rock to fragment and fall off over time.
Freeze thaw and abrasion as well as other processes like plucking from distinctive landscapes. For example Snowdonia was once covered by a 20, 000km2 ice sheet. It has made a distinctive landscape such as the North Glydeau region with 15 consecutive corries along the Nant Francon U shaped valley like Cwm Idwal.
Many erosional landforms, particularly in lowland areas, become hidden by the later glacial and fluvioglacial deposits laid down on top of them. Others may be modified by postglacial processes of weathering and erosion. However, those that are etched into the solid rock of upland areas may remain distinctive long after the end of the glacial period. There are relatively few examples of erosional landforms resulting from fluvioglaciation, although they can be distinctive and assist in tracing the activity of a glacial period.
Depositional landforms
Glaciers deposit their load when they become less able to transport material. This usually occurs as a direct result of ablation during periods of retreat. Lowland areas see more depositional forms. Rocks are picked up the process of plucking which is when melt water seeps into joints in rocks and then freezes to the glacier when the glacier advances it pulls pieces of rock away. These rocks can travel great distances and are called erractics an example of this is the Boulder Stone in Borrowdake in the Lake District.
There are two types of material deposited by a glacier or ice sheet: lodgement till (material deposited by advancing ice) and ablation till (material deposited by melting ice from stagnant or retreating glaciers). This deposited material has three distinctive characteristics they are jagged and angular in shape as they aren’t subjected to further erosion so they aren’t smoothed and rounded. They are unsorted as when glaciers deposits material it...

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