Climatic Geomorphology by Edward Derbyshire (eds.)

By Edward Derbyshire (eds.)

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Example text

Let us then inquire if glaciers may not, during their ideal life history, develop as orderly a succession of features as that which so well characterises the normal development of rivers. Young glaciers will be those which have been just established in courses that are consequent upon the slopes of a newly uplifted land surface. Mature glaciers will be those which have eroded their valleys to grade and thus dissected the uplifted surface. Old glaciers will be those which cloak the whole lowland to which the upland has been reduced, or which are slowly fading in the milder climate of the low levels appropriate to the close of the cycle of denudation.

Movements that tend to produce trough-like depressions across the course of a river usually give birth to a lake of water or waste in the depressed part of the river valley. In mountain ranges frequent and various interruptions occur during the long period of deformation; the Alps show so many recent interruptions that a student there would find little use for the ideal cycle; but in mountain regions of ancient deformation the disturbing forces seem to have become almost extinct, and there the ideal cycle is almost realised.

But there will be a later stage, when the wasting of the superglacial slopes reduces them to moderate declivity, so that the waste delivered from them decreases in quantity. Then the outfiowing water stream at the end of the glacier may become a degrading agent, the altitude of the end of the glacier may be slowly lessened, and a very slow and long-continued deepening of the whole glacial channel will take place, without requiring a departure from an essentially graded condition. As the general denudation of the region progresses, the snowfall must be decreased and the glacial system must shrink somewhat, leaving a greater area of lowland surface to ordinary river drainage.

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