Melting glacier. Meltwater stream on the surface of a glacier. A glacier is a huge mass of ice formed from compacted snow that moves slowly over a land mass. When a glacier melts faster than snow accumulates, it is said to be 'in retreat'. Glaciers often carry rocks that have fallen from the sides of the valley, or that have been deposited by meltwater from higher up. This material is called surface moraine. Photographed at 4800 metres altitude on the Cotopaxi volcano in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.
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