The Living World
21 Topics | 21 Quizzes

Introduction to Glacial Processes in the UK

The UK experienced its last ice age approximately 18,000 years ago. At this time, temperatures were consistently low throughout the year, which led to colossal ice sheets and glaciers covering the UK and Northern Europe.

This ice age period led to huge changes in the UK’s land, largely through the slow movement of glaciers.

What Are Glaciers?

Glaciers are gigantic rivers of ice that move very slowly. They are formed when snow and ice accumulate over many years in places with very cold temperatures, such as high mountains or polar regions.

As more and more snow piles up, the weight of the snow compresses the layers below, turning them into ice. Over time, this ice starts to flow downhill due to gravity.

Glaciers can be as small as a football field or as massive as entire valleys. They have a huge impact on the landscape, shaping mountains, carving out valleys, and leaving behind unique features such as:

  • lakes, known as glacial lakes, when they carve out hollows that later fill with water
  • Moraines, which are accumulations of dirt and rocks that have been transported by a glacier

Glaciers carry out this land-forming action through processes like erosion, deposition, transportation and weathering.

You’ve used 10 of your 10 free revision notes for the month

Sign up to get unlimited access to revision notes, quizzes, audio lessons and more

Sign up