Explore BrainMass


In a general sense, glaciology is a field of study which looks at any natural phenomena which involve ice, but more specifically, this field considers glaciers. The study of glaciers is conducted in many different areas of study including geophysics, geology, physical geography, geomorphology, climatology, meteorology, hydrology, biology and ecology. The study of ice on the Moon, Mars and Europa is studied in astroglaciology, another branch of this academic discipline.

A glacier is a body of dense ice which has a surface area exceeding 0.1km2. It is known that glaciers are constantly moving. A glacier moves under its own gravity, which forms when the accumulation of snow exceeds its melting point over many years. Glaciers can slowly deform and flow due to stresses that are induced by their weight. This causes crevasses and seracs in the glacier. Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth.

Furthermore, there are two categories of glaciation. The first is alpine glaciation where the accumulation of rivers of ice is confined to a valley. The second is continental glaciation where there is unrestricted accumulation covering the northern continents. 



Title Image: Wikimedia Commons

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com July 17, 2018, 7:17 pm ad1c9bdddf