Glaciers of the Cryosphere
Key Words

Ablation: the melting of ice in the glacier (mostly during spring and summer)

Accumulation: the gathering of snow on the glacier surface (mostly during the winter season)

Avalanche: the sudden collapse of snow and other materials (such as rock, ice, etc) on a mountain-side

Climate Change (Natural): Changes in the global climate caused by natural phenomenon

Climate Change (Anthropogenic): Changes in the global climate change caused by humans

Cryo-genetic Force (Cryopower): Natural forces that are in play in frozen environments. Frost heave and frost wedging are examples.

Cryosphere: The frozen environment, including ice, snow and frozen ground

Cryosuction: The tendency of ice and frozen areas to attract water

Diagenesis: the process of sediment to rock, which also applies to snow to ice

Equilibrium Line: The dividing line (or area) on a glacier between new snowfall and new forming ice (higher on the glacier) and melting area of older ice (lower on the glacier)

Frost Heave: A cryo-genetic force that expands grounds as they freeze pushing soil, rocks and other objects upwards while leaving ice below

Frost Wedging: A cryo-genetic force that cracks rocks through the expansion of water freezing to ice

Gas Hydrates (Methane): Ice that contains methane gas, found abundantly in frozen grounds due to decayed organic material

Geo-Cryology: The study of rocks, soils and the ground as they are affected by freezing and thawing processes

Geology: The Study of the Earth, rocks and the processes by which they change

Glacier: Perennial ice surviving at least two summers, generally formed on land by the accumulation of snow, that moves and deforms, due to its own weight.

Glacier Lake: a lake formed by a receding glacier melting in the natural pit formed by a glacier’s moraines

Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) – Glacier Tsunami: A massive wave generally caused by the fall of a large piece of ice that plunges into a glacier lake breaking through or running over the moraine and down into the canyon below

Glacier National Park (Montana): A US National Park in Montana with many small mountain glaciers which are receding due to climate change

Glacierets: Small glaciers or patches of perennial ice

Glaciology: The study of glaciers

Glaciosystem: The ecosystem of a glacier needed for the glacier to form and exist

Ice Age: An extended cold geological area during which glaciers and ice cover can develop in the polar regions and in mountain environments

Moraine: Displaced rocks and soil due to the push of a glacier

Perennial: Lasting (for at least two years for glaciers or other cryological forms)

Penitents: Closely spaced and elongated icicles or blades in glaciated regions that point towards the sun (they resemble stalagmites)

Permafrost: Ground that is permanently frozen (it may or may not have ice)

Pingos: A mound of earth-covered ice

Rock Glacier: A subsurface glacier covered by a mantle of rock, formed through cryo-geological forces, including frost wedging, frost heaving, and cryosuction which when acting together, pull ice downward into the Earth, and rocks upwards to the surface.

Sea Level Rise: The rising of sea level caused by melting glaciers and the Earth’s perennial ice cover

Seasonal Snow: Snow that falls in winter and melts in spring/summer

Serac: pieces of breaking ice usually at the front edge of a glacier

Terminus: the front of an advancing glacier

U-Shaped Valley: A vally carved out by an advancing glacier

Yosemite National Park (California): A National Park in California, formed by glaciers many thousands of years ago.