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A glacier is a giant mass of land ice, containing enough weight to flow downhill. A glacier can be compared to river made entirely of ice, flowing downhill at a very slow rate. The speed at which it moves, can lie between a few centimeters, to tens of meters (in exceptional cases) in one year. Glaciers and ice sheets contain the biggest amount of fresh water on earth . Glaciers can occur in areas where the temperature is low enough, and where enough rainfall allows the ice to be accumulated. Glaciers and ice sheets are found in the polar regions, and mountain ranges.
Glaciers and ice sheets, are responsible for the erosion of landscapes, as a result of the continues movement of ice and debris, working as abrading agents throughout the entire length of the glacier, fjords are formed. The famous Norwegian fjords, are beautiful examples of glacier erosion. At the end of the glaciers, the rocks and stone debris which were carried along by the glacier, are deposited in the so-called moraines. If debris and stones are transported over greater distances , layers of boulders, and boulder clay, can occur.
A glacier in Iceland flows to the bottom of the river valley. Photo: Herman Zevenberg
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