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Alpine Glaciers. Ice that flows down mountain valleys (e.g. in the Alps!). Mont Blanc, near Chamonix, France - note the alpine glacier that flows to lower elevations, nearly reaching the main valley in which Chamonix lies. Bergschrund at head of a glacier above Chamonix.

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alpine glaciers

Alpine Glaciers

Ice that flows down mountain valleys

(e.g. in the Alps!)

slide2
Mont Blanc, near Chamonix, France - note the alpine glacier that flows to lower elevations, nearly reaching the main valley in which Chamonix lies
slide6

Glaciers are capable of carrying debris of almost any size - from the fine particles embedded in the ice in the foreground, to the huge angular boulder in the background

landforms of alpine glaciation

Landforms of Alpine Glaciation

U-shaped valleys

Cirques, Aretes, Horns

Moraines

Striations

mer de glace
Mer de Glace
  • An alpine glacier, whose flow is confined to a valley
  • Such glaciers are very efficient at eroding their valleys, widening and deepening them into classic U-shaped valleys
slide11

The Grand Teton (WY) is a classic horn - note several small cirques that have eroded into the mountain, leaving only a fairly narrow, jagged peak.

slide12

Iceberg Lake (Glacier National Park, MT) occupies a cirque

The sheer rock face at the back of the cirque is an arete - a narrow ridge between two cirques that have eroded back into the mountain from opposite sides

slide16

Cirques with small residual glaciers in the Lyman Valley, WA

Note the end moraines, built of debris deposited by the glaciers when they extended a bit further downslope during the “Little Ice Age” (~1550-1850)

glacial abrasion
Glacial Abrasion
  • Debris carried at the base of a glacier can smooth and scratch the bedrock it flows over - the scratches are called striations