Skip to main content

Ice-Contact Delta

  • 87 Accesses


Series of coalesced flat-topped, fan-shaped mounds, forming a continuous ridge at non-calving ice margins, where ice front remains stationary for a considerable period of time (Bennett and Glassner 2011)


Delta moraine; Esker-kame delta; Kame delta


They form by subglacial meltwater discharging into a proglacial lake or the sea (Huggett 2011), directly at the glacier margins, unlike glacier-fed proglacial deltas which receive sediments from proglacial meltwater streams. Ice-contact deltas exhibit Hjulstrom- and Gilbert-type morphologies (Benn and Evans 2003). Ice-contact deltas may evolve from grounding-line fans (Grounding-Line System) (Powell 1990).


Glaciofluvial and glacial debris (Hambrey 1994)

Prominent Examples

Salpausselkä moraines, Finland

Planetary Analog

On Mars, some fan-shaped deposits interpreted as Gilbert-type deltas are proposed to be formed as ice-contact deltas in the Amazonian (Di Achille and Ori 2008) (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1
figure 1



  • Kame Delta
  • Lacustrine Features
  • Gilbert-type Deltas
  • Kettle Hole
  • Planetary Analog

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


  • Benn D, Evans D (2003) Glaciers and glaciation. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Bennett MM, Glassner NF (2011) Glacial geology: ice sheets and landforms. Wiley, Chichester

    Google Scholar 

  • Di Achille G, Ori GG (2008) Complex intermontaine glacial systems in Arabia Terra, Mars: Evidence for an Amazonian proglacial lake with associated glaciolacustrine deposits. 39th Lunar Planet Sci Conf, abstract #2096, Houston

    Google Scholar 

  • Hambrey MJ (1994) Glacial environments, UBC Press, Vancouver, Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huggett RJ (2011) Fundamentals of geomorphology. Routledge London/New York. p. 284

    Google Scholar 

  • Powell RD (1990) Glacimarine processes at grounding-line fans and their growth to ice-contact deltas. In: Dowdeswell JA, Scourse JD (eds) Glacimarine environments: processes and sediments. Geological Society, London, Special Publication No. 53. 423 pp

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henrik Hargitai .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York

About this entry

Cite this entry

Hargitai, H. (2014). Ice-Contact Delta. In: Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms. Springer, New York, NY.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4614-9213-9

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Earth & Environm. ScienceReference Module Physical and Materials Science