1968 Edition

Glacial plucking (quarrying)

  • Rhodes W. Fairbridge
Reference work entry

In glacial erosion, in addition to abrasion (q.v.) which leaves striations, gouge marks, etc., a peculiar pulling away process is called glacial plucking or quarrying, because it involves the dislodging and removal of large fragments and boulders. It is a characteristic process of lee sides of rochesmoutonnées (q.v.), of the downstream side of “glacial stairs,” and of the inner and deeper parts of the bergschrund crevasses of cirque glaciers. It is probable that very often meltwater running into the joint planes causes frost splitting (Carol, 1947), but also the mechanical process of ice freezing onto projecting rocks has the ultimate effect, as the glacier moves on, of pulling the rocks away from their foundations. The pressure changes as the glacier moves over may also lead to stress release effects (Lewis, 1954). Comparisons of the amount of erosion on the stoss and lee sides of glaciated hills (Flint, 1957, p. 78) show that by and large the lee side (i.e., plucked side) is more...

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  1. Carol, H., 1947, The formation of roches moutonnées, J. Glaciol., 1, 58–59.Google Scholar
  2. Flint, R. F., 1957, Glacial and Pleistocene Geology, New York, John Wiley & Sons, 553pp.Google Scholar
  3. Lewis, W. V., 1954, Pressure release and glacial erosion, J. Glaciol., 2, No. 16, 417–422.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Reinhold Book Corporation 1968

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  • Rhodes W. Fairbridge

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