Title Bar: Illustrated Glossary of Alpine Glacial 
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A steep-sided, sharp-edged bedrock ridge formed by two glaciers eroding away on opposite sides of the ridge.

Photo: arete

Photo: K.A. Lemke (used with permission).

Topographic map: arete
Mt. Oberlin (to the left of the waterfall in the photo) in Glacier National Park is an example of an arete. In the photo you are looking toward the southeast. On the map, north is toward the top. The photo was taken from Going to the Sun Highway shown in red on the map where the camera is located. The waterfall is labeled on the map, as is Mount Oberlin. On the map, the arete is shown by elongate closed contour lines that are very closely spaced. The close spacing of the contour lines reveals the steep sides of the arete. Two glaciers shaped this arete by eroding away at opposite sides of Mt. Oberlin. One glacier flowed in the valley currently occupied by Logan Creek and the other glacier flowed north along the unnamed stream where the waterfall is. Thus one thing to look for when identifying aretes is the existence of glacial troughs on either side of the arete. Aretes may also form between two cirques, in which case two cirque glaciers will erode away on opposite sides of the ridge, not two valley glaciers.

| More Examples of Aretes |

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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.