NCERT Notes: Glacial Erosional Landforms [Geography Notes For UPSC]

NCERT notes on important topics for the UPSC civil services exam. These notes will also be useful for other competitive exams like banking PO, SSC, state civil services exams and so on. This article talks about the various glacial erosional landforms.

Glacial Erosional Landforms

Glaciers have played a prominent role in the shaping of landscapes in the mid and high latitudes of alpine environments. The major erosional landforms made by glaciers are

  • Cirque
  • Horns and Serrated Ridges
  • Glacial Valleys/Troughs

Cirque
  • Cirque is an amphitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion.
  • They are long, deep, and wide troughs or basins with very steep concave to vertically dropping high walls on its head as well as sides.
  • They are the commonly found of landforms in glaciated mountain especially at the heads of glacial valleys.
  • The amassed ice cuts these cirques whereas moving down the mountain tops.
  • A lake of water can be seen frequently inside the cirques after the glacier vanishes.
  • Such lakes are called Cirque or tarn lakes.

Horns and Serrated Ridges
  • Horns form through headward erosion of the cirque walls.
  • Horns form when three or more radiating glaciers cut the headward until their cirques meet high, sharp pointed and steep-sided peaks.
  • The splits between Cirque side walls or head walls get narrow because of progressive erosion and turn into saw-toothed ridges occasionally mentioned to as arêtes with very sharp crest and a zig-zag outline.
  • Horns formed through headward erosion of radiating cirques are:
    • The highest peak in the Alps
    • Matterhorn
    • The highest peak in the Himalayas Everest 

Glacial Valleys/ Troughs
  • They are U-shaped and trough-like with broad floors and comparatively smooth and steep edges.
  • The valleys may comprise scattered debris or debris moulded as moraines with swampy
  • The very deep glacial troughs occupied with sea water and making up shorelines in high latitudes are known as fjords.

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