There are many different types of moraines that form as a glacier carves its way across a landscape: lateral moraines, which form on the side of the glacier; supraglacial moraines, which form on top of the glacier; medial moraines, which form in the middle of the glacier; and terminal moraines, which form at the end of the glacier.

Illustration by Tim Gunther
  • As a glacier carves its way through a landscape, it transports debris—mostly rock and soil. Moraine is the material left behind by a moving glacier.

    Moraines can form on top of the glacier (supraglacial moraine), the sides of a glacier (lateral moraine), and at the very end of a glacier (terminal moraine).

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    carve Verb

    to cut or slice through.

    debris Noun

    remains of something broken or destroyed; waste, or garbage.

    glacier Noun

    mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: glacier
    landscape Noun

    the geographic features of a region.

    Encyclopedic Entry: landscape
    lateral moraine Noun

    material deposited at the edges of a glacier.

    moraine Noun

    material, such as earth, sand, and gravel, transported by a glacier.

    Encyclopedic Entry: moraine
    rock Noun

    natural substance composed of solid mineral matter.

    soil Noun

    top layer of the Earth's surface where plants can grow.

    supraglacial moraine Noun

    material that builds up on the surface of a glacier.

    terminal moraine Noun

    material deposited at the end of a glacier. Also called an end moraine.

    transport Verb

    to move material from one place to another.