Title Bar: Illustrated Glossary of Alpine Glacial 
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ICEFALL

    Erosional Landforms
    Arete
    Cirque
    Col
    Giant stair steps
    Glacial trough
    Groove
    Hanging valley
    Headwall
    Horn
    Paternoster lakes
    Striations
    Tarn
    U-shaped valley

    Depositional Landforms
    Moraine
    End moraine
    Ground moraine
    Lateral moraine
    Medial moraine

    Ice Features
    Cirque glacier
    Valley glacier
    Crevasse
    Ice fall
    Ogives

The ice equivalent of a waterfall. As ice flows over a drop-off, the glacier breaks apart often forming transverse crevasses and then reforms at the base of the drop-off.

Photo: ice fall

Photo: B. Ford. Used with permission.

The ice fall in the above photo (located behind the people) occurs where the Athabaskan Glacier flows into the Columbia Ice Field in Alberta, Canada. As the ice falls over an underlying scarp, the ice breaks apart creating the lines and layers shown in the photo. Ice does not flow smoothly over drop-offs, rather it breaks apart forming crevasses. Once the ice reaches the base of the ice fall, it reforms into ice that flows more readily.

Photo: ice fall

Photo: L. Freeman. Used with permission.

Here's another example of an ice fall. This is the Suicide Ice Fall, an ice fall created where a tributary glacier flows into the Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska.

| More Examples of Icefalls |

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All commercial rights reserved. Copyright 2010 by Karen A. Lemke. Earlier copyright 2002 by Karen A. Lemke, and 1998 by Karen A. Lemke and Linda Freeman.
Last updated June 2010 KAL.