Glacier Movement

Franz Josef GlacierThe Franz Josef Glacier is one of the fastest moving glaciers on Earth. Unlike most of glacier in the world the Franz Josef Glacier travels down very steep slopes of the Southern Alps. In the upper and very steep parts of the glacier, where the ice in the huge neve is squeezed into a narrow valley, the ice can move up to 5m each day during period of advance. Lower on the glacier the valley broadens and becomes less steep. The temperature rises and ice melts more. The speed of the glacier terminal face slows down to 0.1 – 0.5m per day. This glacier velocity can be seasonally dependant. During increased rainfall in summer the boundary of ice and rock may become lubricated when warm and wet. In winter it freezes in the cold dry conditions. This has the effect of increasing or decreasing the rate of the velocity. Nevertheless, the movement of the ice remains almost imperceptible.

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