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Published 1948 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Constitution of Valley Glaciers


Ice streams composing a compound valley glacier may be juxtaposed, inset or superimposed, and Demorest's concepts of ice flowage provide a plausible explanation for these relations. If valley floors are accordant, juxtaposition results because the waxing force of gravity and obstructed gravity flow in the tributary glacier overcomes the waning force of obstructed extrusion flow from the trunk glacier enabling the tributary to force its way into a juxtaposed position with the trunk glacier in the main valley. If discordance in valley floors is less than the thickness of the trunk glacier, an insert position develops by the same mechanism. If the discordance is greater than the thickness of the trunk glacier, superimposition results. Locally, superimposed or inset relations may be established by exceptionally rapid advances, even with accordant valley floors, but any superimposed ice stream shortly becomes inset by sinking into the underlying ice, at least in temperate glaciers.

Additional Information

© 1949 International Glaciological Society. Manuscript received 5 April 1948. Bradford Washburn's generosity in permitting reproduction of his photographs and the draftsmanship of David P. Willoughy and Joan T. Rounds are deeply appreciated. Profit has been derived from the critical comments of François of E. Matthes and Richard H. Jahns.

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August 21, 2023
October 23, 2023