Alternative definitions (1), class: vernacular (0)
Term: Disarticulation
Definition: Disarticulation is the process through which large blocks of ice, sometimes greater than .5 miles in width, detach from the thinning and retreating terminus of a glacier that ends in a body of water. Disarticulation occurs as the terminus thins to where its buoyandcy no longer permits it to remain in contact with its bed. As the glacier begins to float free and rises off the bottom it rapidly comes apart along old fracture scars and crevasses. For example, at Bering Glacier, in the Chugach Mountains, Alaska, a single observed disarticulation event resulted in nearly 2/3 of a mile of terminus retreat in a single day. As many as 100 discrete, tabular pieces of glacier ice have been observed separating from the glacier's terminus in a single event. Bering Glacier flows through Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.
Created 2022.03.08
Last Modified 2023.03.27
Contributed by GCW Glossary