Glaciers and Glacial Landforms

Kenai Fjords National Park
A view of the blue ice of Pedersen Glacier at its terminus in Pedersen Lagoon (Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska)

NPS Photo/Jim Pfeiffenberger

Glaciers are moving bodies of ice that can change entire landscapes. They sculpt mountains, carve valleys, and move vast quantities of rock and sediment.

In the past, glaciers have covered more than one third of Earth's surface, and they continue to flow and to shape features in many places.

Glaciers and the landscapes they have shaped provide invaluable information about past climates and offer keys to understanding climate change today.


Types of Glaciers

Many different kinds of glaciers have affected our National Parks, whether they are present today or sculpted the landscape in the past. They include:

Glacier Ice Features

Active glaciers often have distinct features that are associated with the flowing, melting ice. You can see many of these features in parks with glaciers. Look for:

Glacier Landforms

Past glaciers have created a variety of landforms that we see in National Parks today, such as:

Geological Monitoring

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    Photo Gallery

    Glaciation in Parks—Active, Alpine Glaciation


    Glaciation in Parks—Alpine Glaciation Landforms

    Glaciation in Parks—Continental Glaciation Landforms
    • Acadia National Park, Maine—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Apostle Island National Lakeshore, Wisconsin—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Massachusetts—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wisconsin—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, Wisconsin—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Isle Royale National Park, Michigan—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Keweenaw National Historic Park, Michigan—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, Wisconsin—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]
    • Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota—[Geodiversity Atlas] [Park Home]

    Ice Age Flood Landforms—The Channeled Scablands

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