To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
Show all languages
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

Surge (glacier)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Glacial surges are short-lived events where a glacier can advance substantially, moving at velocities up to 100 times faster than normal. Surging glaciers cluster around a few areas. High concentrations of surging glaciers occur in the Karakoram,[1] Pamir Mountains,[2] Svalbard, the Canadian Arctic islands, Alaska and Iceland, although overall it is estimated that only one percent of all the world's glaciers ever surge.[3] In some glaciers, surges can occur in fairly regular cycles, with 15 to 100 or more surge events per year. In other glaciers, surging remains unpredictable.[4] In some glaciers, however, the period of stagnation and build-up between two surges typically lasts 10 to 200 years and is called the quiescent phase.[5] During this period the velocities of the glacier are significantly lower, and the glaciers can retreat substantially.


Glacier surges have been divided into two categories depending on the character of the surge event. Glaciers in Alaska exhibit surges with a sudden onset, an extremely high maximum flow rate (tens of meters/day) and a sudden termination, often with a discharge of stored water. These are called Alaskan-type surges and it is suspected that these surges are hydrologically controlled.[6]

Surges in Svalbard typically exhibit different behavior. Svalbard surges are typically associated with slower onset with an acceleration phase, rising to a maximum velocity which is typically slower (up to four or five meters per day) than Alaskan surges, and a return to quiescence often taking years.[7][8] Features observed during the active or surge phase include potholes, known as lacunas[9] and medial moraines.[10]

Examples of events

In the Norwegian Arctic, Svalbard is an archipelago containing hundreds of glaciers. Svalbard is more than 60% covered by glaciers[11] and of these glaciers, hundreds have been observed to surge.[5]

Glacial surges in the Karakoram occur in the presence of "extreme uplift and denudation."[5]

In 1980, there were several mini-surges of Variegated Glacier in Alaska. Mini surges typically show lag times of basal flow of 5–10 hours, which correlates to differences between the surging part of a glacier and the output of water and sediment.[12] When the 1982 surge ended on July 5, there was a large flood event that day, and more flooding in the following days. What Humphrey found in his study is that behind the glacial surge zone, there are predominantly low basal water velocities, and high sliding rates before the rapid release of large quantities of water.[12]


There have been many theories of why glacial surges occur.

Hydrological control

Surges may be caused by the supply of meltwater to the base of a glacier. Meltwater is important in reducing frictional forces to glacial ice flow. The distribution and pressure of water at the bed modulates the glacier's velocity and therefore mass balance. Meltwater may come from a number of sources, including supraglacial lakes, geothermal heating of the bed, conduction of heat into the glacier and latent heat transfers. There is a positive feedback between velocity and friction at the bed, high velocities will generate more frictional heat and create more meltwater. Crevassing is also enhanced by greater velocity flow which will provide further rapid transmission paths for meltwater flowing towards the bed. However, Humphrey found no precise correlation between ice-slow down and the release of water inside of a glacier.[12]

The evolution of the drainage system under the glacier plays a key role in surge cycles.

Thermal regime

Glaciers that exhibit surges like those in Svalbard; with slower onset phase, and a longer termination phase may be thermally controlled rather than hydrologically controlled.[13][7] These surges tend to last for longer periods of time than hydrologically controlled surges.

Deformable bed hypothesis

In other cases, the geology of the underlying country rock may dictate surge frequency.[citation needed] For example, poorly consolidated sedimentary rocks are more prone to failure under stress; a sub-glacial "landslip" may permit the glacier to slide. This explains why surging glaciers tend to cluster[citation needed] in certain areas.

Critical mass

Meier and Post[14] suggest that once mass accumulates to a critical point, basal melting begins to occur. This provides a buoyancy force, "lifting" the glacier from the bed and reducing the friction force.


  1. ^ Luke Copland, Tyler Sylvestre, Michael P. Bishop, John F. Shroder, Yeong Bae Seong, Lewis A. Owen, Andrew Bush and Ulrich Kamp. "Expanded and Recently Increased Glacier Surging in the Karakoram". Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research: An Interdisciplinary Journal.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ J. Gardelle, E. Berthier, Y. Arnaud, A. Kaab. "Region-wide glacier mass balances over the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya during 1999-2011" (PDF).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Jiskoot, Hester and Murray, Tavi; ‘Controls on the distribution of surge-type glaciers in Svalbard’; Journal of Glaciology, 46(154), pp. 412-422 (June 2000)
  4. ^ Summerfield, Michael A., 1991, Global Geomorphology, an introduction to the study of landforms, Pearson, Prentice Hall. Harlow, England
  5. ^ a b c Dowdeswell, J. A., B. Unwin, A. M. Nuttall and D. J. Wingham. 1999. Velocity structure, flow instability and mass flux on a large Arctic ice cap from satellite radar interferometry. Elsevier Science B.V.
  6. ^ Sharp, M., 1988, Surging glaciers: geomorphic effects, Progress in Physical geography,
  7. ^ a b Jiskoot, H. and D. T. Juhlin, 2009, Surge of a small East Greenland glacier, 2001–2007, suggests Svalbard-type surge mechanism, Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 55, No. 191, pp. 567–570
  8. ^ Murray, T., T. Strozzi, A. Luckman, H. Jiskoot, and P. Christakos (2003), Is there a single surge mechanism? Contrasts in dynamics between glacier surges in Svalbard and other regions, J. Geophys. Res., 108(B5), 2237, doi:10.1029/2002JB001906
  9. ^ Post, A. 1969, Distribution of surging glaciers in western North America, J. Glaciol., 8(53), 229-240.
  10. ^ Benn, Douglas I. and David J. A. Evans, Glaciers and Glaciation, Hodder Arnold, 1997 ISBN 978-0-340-58431-6 (verification and page number needed)
  11. ^ "Ingólfsson, Ólafur, Outline of the Physical Geography and Geology of Svalbard". Retrieved 2013-09-24.
  12. ^ a b c Humphrey, Neil Frank. Basal Hydrology of a Surge-Type Glacier: Observations and Theory Relating to Variegated Glacier. University of Washington, 1987
  13. ^ Fowler, A. C., Murray, T. and Ng, F.S.L., Thermal regulation of glacier surging, Journal of Glaciology, 47(159), 527-538, 2001
  14. ^ Meier, M.F. and Post, A.S., 1969, What are glacier surges? Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 6, 807-817


This page was last edited on 13 January 2021, at 01:13
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.