Equilibrium growth

Alternative definitions (1), class: vernacular (0)
Term: Equilibrium growth
Definition: Slow growth of grains and bonds within the snowpack resulting in a decrease of the specific surface area of snow. Causes particles to round off. Works at low temperature gradients, i.e., when excess water vapour density is below the critical value for kinetic growth to occur. An extreme case of equilibrium growth is isothermal or equi-temperature growth in dry snow. This is the type of metamorphism that in nature occurs only in the centre of polar ice shields and may allow grains to develop facets. The latter is still a matter of research.
Created 2022.03.08
Last Modified 2023.03.27
Contributed by GCW Glossary