The Cause Of Glacial Movement In Greenland

611 words - 2 pages - joomladolla ✓ Expert Reviewed

Recently, concern over the increased movement speed of glaciers in Greenland has risen. Some geologists have are citing the cause as regional warming. Before attempting to either prove or discredit this, the causes of glacial movement must first be established. Glaciers tend to flow as a solid mass rather than a liquid. Gravitational pull causes the glaciers to move at an average speed of tens of meters per year. One of the most basic ways that glaciers move is by moving down the slope on which it rests. However, in the case of continental glaciers, which form on flat land surfaces such as in Greenland, the glacier will flatten out as the glacier flows outwards from its thickest point.
Knowing the general way that glaciers move is just the start; the mechanisms of movement must be studied further. Glaciers located in warmer climates often travel by basal sliding. Both the heat and the pressure of the glacier above it will cause the bottom layer of the glacier to undergo a small amount of melting. The water produced reduces the friction between bedrock and the glacier, allowing it to easily glide across the surface. However, polar glaciers located in colder temperatures do not undergo basal sliding, but instead move by means of plastic deformation. Just enough water forms along grain boundaries which allows the water molecules to change. This will cause the formation to recrystallize, stretch or rotate into different shapes. The first mechanism explained tends to only affect continental glaciers and temperate glaciers, while the second mechanism affects those same two as well as polar glaciers. Continental and temperate glaciers exist in warmer regions that allow for melting, while polar glaciers do not.
With these mechanisms now explained, the next question is what could be the...

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