Sampling the surface of a glacier. There is increasingly dense firn between surface snow and blue glacier ice.
Firn field on the top of Säuleck, Hohe Tauern

Partially compacted névé, a type of snow that has been left over from past seasons and has been recrystallized into a substance denser than névé.

- Firn

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Persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight.

The glacier of the Geikie Plateau in Greenland.
With 7,253 known glaciers, Pakistan contains more glacial ice than any other country on earth outside the polar regions. At 62 km in length, its Baltoro Glacier is one of the world's longest alpine glaciers.
Aerial view of a glacier in Chugach State Park, Alaska, United States
Webber Glacier on Grant Land (northern Ellesmere Island) is an advancing polar glacier and frozen to the glacier bed. Debris rich layers of the ground moraine are sheared and folded into the ice. The steep icefront shows waterfalls. The glacier front is 6 km broad and up to 40 m high (July 20, 1978)
Shear or herring-bone crevasses on Emmons Glacier (Mount Rainier); such crevasses often form near the edge of a glacier where interactions with underlying or marginal rock impede flow. In this case, the impediment appears to be some distance from the near margin of the glacier.
Forbes bands on the Mer de Glace glacier in France
Black ice glacier near Aconcagua, Argentina
Fox Glacier in New Zealand finishes near a rainforest.
Diagram of glacial plucking and abrasion
Glacially plucked granitic bedrock near Mariehamn, Åland
Glacial moraines above Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
A drumlin field forms after a glacier has modified the landscape. The teardrop-shaped formations denote the direction of the ice flow.
Features of a glacial landscape
Landscape produced by a receding glacier
South Cascade Glacier in Washington documented from 1928 to 2003 showing the recent rapid glacier retreating. By looking at this photo it's clear to see how quickly the glaciers are retreating in the modern world. This kind of retreating is the result of climate change which has significantly increased due to human impacts. This photo was taken from USGS U.S. Department of Interior research looking at the last 50 years of glacier change.
Isostatic pressure by a glacier on the Earth's crust
Northern polar ice cap on Mars.
Ice calving from the terminus of the Perito Moreno Glacier in western Patagonia, Argentina.
The Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier of the Alps, in Switzerland.
The Quelccaya Ice Cap is the second-largest glaciated area in the tropics, in Peru.
Mouth of the Schlatenkees Glacier near Innergschlöß, Austria.
The Grotta del Gelo is a cave of Etna volcano, the southernmost glacier in Europe.
Sightseeing boat in front of a tidewater glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska.
Gorner Glacier in Switzerland.
An aerial photograph of the Gorner Glacier (left side of image) together with the Grenzgletscher (r.) flowing into it, both framing the Monte Rosa massif in the middle
A packrafter passes a wall of freshly exposed blue ice on Spencer Glacier, in Alaska. Glacial ice acts like a filter on light, and the more time light spends traveling through the ice, the bluer it becomes.
A glacier cave located on the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina.
Ice cracks in the Titlis Glacier.
Crossing a crevasse on the Easton Glacier, Mount Baker, in the North Cascades, United States.
An exposed glacier tube that once transported water down the interior of the glacier.
Romer Lake's Elephant Foot Glacier in the Earth's Arctic, as seen by Landsat 8. This picture shows several glaciers that have the same shape as many features on Mars that are believed to also be glaciers.  The next three images from Mars show shapes similar to the Elephant Foot Glacier.
Mesa in Ismenius Lacus quadrangle, as seen by CTX. Mesa has several glaciers eroding it. One of the glaciers is seen in greater detail in the next two images from HiRISE. Image from Ismenius Lacus quadrangle.
Glacier as seen by HiRISE under the HiWish program. Area in the rectangle is enlarged in the next photo. Zone of accumulation of snow at the top. Glacier is moving down valley, then spreading out on plain. Evidence for flow comes from the many lines on surface. Location is in Protonilus Mensae in Ismenius Lacus quadrangle.
Enlargement of area in rectangle of the previous image. On Earth, the ridge would be called the terminal moraine of an alpine glacier. Picture taken with HiRISE under the HiWish program. Image from Ismenius Lacus quadrangle.

In temperate glaciers, snow repeatedly freezes and thaws, changing into granular ice called firn.


Snow comprises individual ice crystals that grow while suspended in the atmosphere—usually within clouds—and then fall, accumulating on the ground where they undergo further changes.

Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow
Extratropical cyclonic snowstorm, February 24, 2007—(Click for animation.)
Frontal snowsquall moving toward Boston, Massachusetts
Cold northwesterly wind over Lake Superior and Lake Michigan creating lake-effect snowfall
Freshly fallen snowflakes
An early classification of snowflakes by Israel Perkins Warren
An animation of seasonal snow changes, based on satellite imagery
New York City during a 2016 blizzard, which
 produced local wind gusts up to 42 mph and dropped 27.5 in of snow, breaking the city's one-day snowfall record.
Snow-covered trees in Kuusamo, Finland
Fresh snow beginning to metamorphose: The surface shows wind packing and sastrugi. In the foreground are hoar frost crystals, formed by refrozen water vapor emerging to the cold surface.
Firn—metamorphosed multi-year snow
Snow drifts forming around downwind obstructions
A powder snow avalanche
Snowmelt-induced flooding of the Red River of the North in 1997
Snow pit on the surface of a glacier, profiling snow properties where the snow becomes increasingly dense with depth as it metamorphoses towards ice
Snowfall and snowmelt are parts of the Earth's water cycle.
Traffic stranded in a 2011 Chicago snowstorm.
Winter conditions on Ontario Highway 401 in Toronto due to a snowsquall.
Deicing an aircraft during a snow event
Satellite view of the Indus River, showing snow in the Himalayas, which feeds it, and agricultural areas in Pakistan that draw on it for irrigation.
Extreme snow accumulation on building roofs
Icings resulting from meltwater at the bottom of the snow pack on the roof, flowing and refreezing at the eave as icicles and from leaking into the wall via an ice dam.
Alpine skiing.
Algae, Chlamydomonas nivalis, that thrive in snow form red areas in the suncups on this snow surface
Arctic fox, a predator of smaller animals that live beneath the snow
Trucks plowing snow on a highway in Missouri
Airport snow-clearing operations include plowing and brushing
Swiss low-profile, train-mounted snowplow
Bivouac of Napoleon's Grande Armée, during the winter retreat from Moscow
Finnish ski troops during the invasion of Finland by the Soviet Union
Army vehicles coping with snow during the Battle of the Bulge of World War II.
Norwegian military preparations during the 2009 Cold Response exercise
Navy SEALs training for winter warfare at Mammoth Mountain, California.

After deposition, snow progresses on one of two paths that determine its fate, either ablation (mostly by melting) or transitioning from firn (multi-year snow) into glacier ice.


Young, granular type of snow which has been partially melted, refrozen and compacted, yet precedes the form of ice.

Névé in a valley of Haute-Savoie, France

Névé that survives a full season of ablation turns into firn, which is both older and slightly denser.

Georgenfelder Hochmoor

Raised bog in the German Ore Mountains of central Europe, not far from Zinnwald-Georgenfeld.

Entrance to the reserve
Former café on the hochmoor
Georgenfelder Hochmoor
Information board about the vegetation in the bog region

The ridgeline in this area had a permanent covering or cap of firn.

Mount Shirouma

Peak in the Hida Mountains range of the Japanese Alps, located in Nagano Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture, central Honshu, Japan.

Mt. Shirouma and Mt. Korenge in winter, seen from Hakuba, Nagano
Shirouma-ōike (Shirouma Big Pond), {{nihongo||白馬大池|}} seen from Mt. Korenge
Mt. Shirouma and Mt. Korenge in autumn, seen from Mt. Shiroumayari
Mt. Shakushi and Mt. Shiroumayari, seen from Mt. Shirouma

It is also one of the few peaks in Japan with year-round snow fields (Firn), in the Shirouma Dai Sekkei, or Shirouma deep-snow gorge ''' (白馬大雪渓).

Snow patch

Norwegian train plowing through drifted snow

A snow patch is a geomorphological pattern of snow and firn accumulation which lies on the surface for a longer time than other seasonal snow cover.


Term proposed by the Russian geologist V.P. Nekhoroshev for intermontane depressions which might get completely filled by glaciers from the surrounding mountains at the maxima of glaciation.

Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain

They consisted of a thick lens of lake water, which was covered by lake ice, aufeis and glacier ice, and by snow-firn sequence, too.

Hoher Tenn

Double-peaked mountain in the Austrian federal state of Salzburg.

Blick von Nordwesten, links Schneespitze, rechts Hoher Tenn

Auf dem Hohen Tenn liegt westlich des Tennsattels im Gipfelbereich das sogenannte Dreieckige Firnfeld.

Booming Ice Chasm

Ice cave, located in the Crowsnest Pass area of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada.

Booming Ice Chasm is located in the Crowsnest Pass area.

Specifically, it is formed by firn and seepage water.

Glacier Blanc

Glacier in the French département of Hautes-Alpes.

The Glacier Blanc seen from the Dôme de Neige des Écrins
The meltwater exit of the Glacier Blanc
Barre des Écrins (4,102 m) in Hautes Alpes, France and the Glacier Blanc
The snout of the Glacier Blanc in 2004

The firn line on the Glacier Blanc, which separates the accumulation zone from the ablation zone, lies on the northern slopes at a height of about and on the southern flanks at about.