Monday, June 12, 2006

V-shaped, U-shaped Valleys

Have you ever been out hiking or driving and seen a V-shaped valley? They're pretty much every where. Have you seen a U-shaped valley? They are not rare, but not so common. The difference is that the V-shaped valleys are created by rivers or streams. The water erodes down a surface and slowly forms a V. U-shaped valleys are also made by water but it is solid. That's right, ice. It is in a form of a glacier; as the glacier creeps down the mountain side from where they formed it slowly also erodes a valley. Since they are wide, they tend to make more U-shaped landscape as apposed to the V-shape. Slow as they may be, they have tremendous force cutting it's way down and moving debris. Glaciers form hills of debris around it that it plows through. These are called moraines; there are lateral moraines on the sides and a terminal moraine at the bottom end of the glacier where it progresses or regresses. Yosemite National Park is a great example of many glacial valleys. But be careful, don't confuse a river valley that is filled with sediment that appears to be a U with a glacial valley.


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