A mass of land ice
, formed by the further recrystallization of firn
, flowing continuously from higher to lower elevations.
This term covers all such ice
accumulations from the extensive continental glacier
to tiny snowdrift glaciers
. Nearly all glaciers are classified according to the topographical features with which they are associated, for example, highland glacier, plateau glacier
, piedmont glacier
, valley glacier
, cirque glacier
. They are also classified according to their seasonal temperatures, or melting characteristics, as temperate glaciers
or polar glaciers
. If a glacier is flowing, it is active or living; but an active glacier may be advancing or retreating depending upon the rate of flow compared to the rate of ablation
at the terminus. A glacier that has ceased to flow is termed stagnant or dead.
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