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In
glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Glacier.html" ;"title="moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier">moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt, Swiss Alps. The moraine is the high bank of ...
, an ice cap is a mass of
ice Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts as a ). It is vital for all known forms of , eve ...

ice
that covers less than of land area (usually covering a highland area). Larger ice masses covering more than are termed
ice sheet In , an ice sheet, also known as a continental glacier, is a mass of that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than . The only current ice sheets are in and ; during the at (LGM) the covered much of , the ice sheet covered and the c ...

ice sheet
s.


Description

Ice caps are not constrained by
topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surface Relief map of Sierra Nevada, Spain Terrain or relief (also topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an ...

topographical
features (i.e., they will lie over the top of mountains). By contrast, ice masses of similar size that ''are'' constrained by topographical features are known as
ice field An ice field (also spelled icefield) is a mass of interconnected valley glaciers A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, trans ...
s. The ''dome'' of an ice cap is usually centred on the highest point of a
massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults or Lithospheric flexure, flexures. In the Plate tectonics, movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal s ...
. Ice flows away from this high point (the
ice divideAn ice divide is the boundary on an ice sheet In glaciology, an ice sheet, also known as a continental glacier, is a mass of glacier, glacial ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than . The only current ice sheets are in Antarctic ice ...
) towards the ice cap's periphery. Ice caps have significant effects on the
geomorphology incised into shale at the foot of the North Caineville Plateau, Utah, within the pass carved by the Fremont River (Utah), Fremont River and known as the Blue Gate. Grove Karl Gilbert, GK Gilbert studied the landscapes of this area in great detail, ...

geomorphology
of the area that they occupy. Plastic moulding, gouging and other
glacial A glacial period (alternatively glacial or glaciation) is an interval of time (thousands of years) within an ice age#REDIRECT Ice age {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{R from ambiguous term {{R from other capitalisation {{R unprintwor ...
erosion In earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific ...

erosion
al features become present upon the glacier's retreat. Many lakes, such as the
Great Lakes The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land ...

Great Lakes
in North America, as well as numerous valleys have been formed by glacial action over hundreds of thousands of years. On Earth, there are about of total ice mass. The average temperature of an ice mass ranges between . The core of an ice cap exhibits a constant temperature that ranges between .


Variants

High-latitude regions covered in ice, though strictly not an ice cap (since they exceed the maximum area specified in the definition above), are called
polar ice cap A polar ice cap or polar cap is a high-latitude In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north– south position of a point on the Earth's surface. Latitude is an angle (defined below) which ranges from 0° at ...
s; the usage of this designation is widespread in the mass media and arguably recognized by experts.
Vatnajökull Vatnajökull (literally "Glacier of Lakes"; sometimes translated as Vatna Glacier in English) is the Glaciers of Iceland, largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland, and the second largest in area in List of glaciers in Europe, Europe after th ...
is an example of an ice cap in
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#N ...

Iceland
. Plateau glaciers are glaciers that overlie a generally flat highland area. Usually the ice overflows as hanging glaciers in the lower parts of the edges. An example is
Biscayarfonna Biscayarfonna (Biscay glacier) is an ice cap in Spitsbergen, Svalbard. It has an elevation of , and is located on the Haakon VII Land peninsula between Raudfjorden in the west and Breibogen bay in the east. This ice cap is named after Biscay in hono ...
in
Svalbard Svalbard ( , ), previously known as Spitsbergen, or Spitzbergen, is a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic ...

Svalbard
.


See also

*
Glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

Glacier
*
Iceberg An iceberg is a piece of freshwater Fresh water or freshwater is any naturally occurring liquid or frozen water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color ...

Iceberg
*
Ice cap climate upright=1.4, Effect of Sun angle on climate, Solar radiation has a lower intensity in polar regions because it travels a longer distance through the atmosphere, and is also spread across a larger surface area due to its oblique angle of approach. A ...
*
Ice core An ice core is a core sample . A pied butcherbird The pied butcherbird (''Cracticus nigrogularis'') is a songbird native to Australia. Described by John Gould in 1837, it is a black and white bird long with a long hooked bill. Its head an ...
*
Ice shelf An ice shelf is a large floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it ca ...
*
List of glaciers in Russia This is a list of glaciers in Russia. It includes glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or ...
*
Sea ice Sea ice arises as seawater Seawater, or salt water, is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, whic ...

Sea ice


References

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