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Ice Cauldron


A depression in the surface of a glacier, usually formed by melting of ice at its bottom.


Ice depression or ice collapse structure


Ice cauldrons are circular or elongated depressions in glaciers, often bound by a set of concentric crevasses. In some cases the depressions may reach to the base of the glacier. Ice cauldrons usually occur in areas of subglacial geothermal activity and during volcanic eruptions under glaciers. The term has been used for formations ranging from shallow crevasse-free depressions to deep heavily crevassed holes, sometimes bounded by vertical ice walls. The width of ice cauldrons ranges from <100 m to 10 km and their depth varies from ~10 m to 200–300 m (Björnsson 1976, 2003; Gudmundsson et al. 2007; Levy et al. 2010).


Ranging from shallow (~10 m) depressions that may be crevasse-free to formations several hundred meters deep with both concentric crevasses and collapse structures bounded by vertical ice walls. Width...


  • Volcanic Eruption
  • Geothermal Area
  • Geothermal Activity
  • Summit Eruption
  • Basal Melting

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Correspondence to Magnús T. Gudmundsson .

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Gudmundsson, M.T. (2014). Ice Cauldron. In: Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer, New York, NY.

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