Dictionary of Geotourism

2020 Edition
| Editors: Anze Chen, Young Ng, Erkuang Zhang, Mingzhong Tian

Cirque Glacier Landscape

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2538-0_329

A cirque glacier is an armchair-like glacier that develops on a slope or the uppermost part of a valley. They are moderate in size, and the largest one can reach 10 km2 or more, but the smallest have areas less than 1 km2. They are approximately oval but sometimes triangular. Because cirques are permanently covered with snow, the glacier’s surface is always concave and tilts towards the glacier’s mouth, and there is no obvious glacier tongue. Cirque glaciers are often located near the snowline and are supplied by ice from avalanches and ice disintegration behind the cirque wall. Under suitable climatic conditions, they can evolve into valley glaciers or cirque-valley glaciers.

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