001 - Glacial environment

Syllabus Point

Explain (AO2) the advance and retreat of glaciers and the main features resulting from the processes of erosion and deposition by glaciers.

Taken By: Ellena Mart

Key Terminology

Define the key words below using the links provided, the 'Command Term' posters in the classroom and your 'Geography Course Companion' text book by Nagle and Cooke. To make the process more manageable due to the amount of words below the group will work in teams who will then inform the class of their findings.

  • Explain
  • Advance - Zone of accumulation
  • Retreat - Zone of ablation
  • Glacial budget
  • Weathering
  • Erosion
  • Deposition
  • Snout
  • Supraglacial debris
  • Englacial debris
  • Subglacial debris
  • Frost Shattering
  • Abrasion
  • Plucking
  • Bergschrund
  • Rotational Movement

Useful Resources

Activity One - Watch - Glacial Movement

A glacier is a slow moving body of ice, it acts similar to a river but is ultimately a 'brute'. We know that ice is moving due to the cracking noises it makes as we stand on the ice. Many of you have either skied or snow boarded on a glacier or have been to the Mer de Glace in Chamonix and experienced these noises first hand. Watch the clip below to understand how dramatic the movement of ice can be.

Glacial Budgets

Like soil glaciers have 'budgets' which explain when the glacier is gaining or losing mass.

  1. Using a diagram, explain a glaciers budget using the terms: ablation, accumulation, equilibrium and net balance. The diagram and links below will help you.
Taken from: http://gcsegeographyfirsthand.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/9/2/7692446/2740677.jpg?692

Useful Resources

Taken From: Amazon
      • 'Geography. An Integrated Approach' 3rd edition text book by David Waugh pages 106-107.

Activity Two - Glacial Movement

Answer the following questions:

  1. What are cold glaciers?
  2. What are warm glaciers?
  3. Define the word internal deformation.
  4. Define the word basal sliding.
  5. Write a definition of subglacial deformation.
  6. What is a glacial surge?

Useful Links

Taken From: Amazon

Activity Three - Landforms created by Erosion

Before we can explore the different landforms found in a glacial environment we need to know the processes of erosion and deposition and how a glacier can transport material.


Watch the clip below and then begin to answer the questions beneath the clip. If you are unsure of any of the answers go back and review pages 28-31 in the 'Glaciation and Periglaciation' text book by Knight.

  1. Describe the process of freeze-thaw weathering.
  2. What is abrasion?
  3. What factors impact the rate of abrasion?
  4. What evidence is there on rocks that abrasion has taken place in an area?
  5. What is plucking?
  6. What is regelation?

Useful Resources

Activity Four - Landforms created by Erosion

We will be using the app roundme.com to view different erosional landforms.

        1. Download this app on to your phone.
        2. Open up the app and search for Richard Allaway - you are looking for the Aletsch Arena.
        3. If you are using your computer open up any other search engine than google and refind this page.

We will investigate the different landforms created by glaciers as a group and then you will have time go back and look at them using the 360 Degree VR Googles.

Taken From: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/H0UgglBFk6oOQH0LboUNhTW5zdDjeLhkCcB6s7zn7lY5OwAwzUiSC-S5R1YJzCF_0Gw=w300
  • Copy and complete the table below. Remember you need to be able to draw and annotate how landforms are created as it is a geographical skill they may ask you to do in the exam.
Erosional Landform Guide

Glacial Erosion Landform Guide

Useful Resources

      • 'Glaciation and Periglaciation' text book by Knight pages 33-42

Activity Five - Landforms created by Deposition

You are now going to look at landforms that are created by glacial deposition.

  1. What is deposition?
  2. Remind yourselves what supra, en and subglacial transportation is.
  3. Why do glaciers deposit their material?
  4. How does material get into the middle of glaciers?
  5. Copy and complete the table below. Remember to annotate your diagrams.
Depositional Landform Guide

Depositional Landform Guide

Useful Resources