Landforms of Glacier- Cirque, ‘U’ shaped, Hanging Valley

Landforms of Glacier

When a glacier travels over the land it drags rock pieces, gravel, and sand.

Rock fragments, gravel, and sand help glacier scrapes and scrub the surface rocks.

This action of the glacier leaves scratches and grooves on the rocks.

The landforms created by glacial erosion are:


[1] Cirque (or Corrie)

Snow accumulates at the top of a bowl-shaped depression called a cirque.

Snow layers in compaction and recrystallization process are called firn.

Often, accumulated-water fills the deepest sections of these hollows, creating Corrie Lake (or Tarn).


[2] ‘U’ – shaped valley

The glacier does not carve a new valley.

It deepens and widens the pre-existing valley by smoothing out the irregularities.

During this phase, the glacier broadens valley sides.

The valley shape thus shaped resembles the letter ‘U.’ Therefore; it’s called a ‘U’ valley-shaped.

Such a valley is relatively straight, has a flat floor and vertical sides.


[3] Hanging Valley

Just like tributary streams of the river, there are tributary glaciers also which join the main glacier after moving over their mountainous path.

These glaciers also carve U – shaped valleys.

They have less volume of ice than the main glaciers and their rate of erosion is less rapid.

Their valleys are smaller than and not as wide as the main glacier.

As a result of this deepening gap, the tributary glacier valley is left above the main glacier.

The tributary glacier’s valley looks like hanging down at its confluence with the main valley.

This type of topographical feature is called a hanging valley.

This feature is noticeable when ice in both the valleys has melted.

When the ice melts in the hanging valley, at the intersection of this stream and the main river a waterfall is formed.