Glacial lake

The Seven Rila Lakes in Rila mountain, Bulgaria, are of glacial origin.
The Great Lakes as seen from space. The Great Lakes are the largest glacial lakes in the world.
The prehistoric glacial lake Agassiz once held more water than contained by all lakes in the world today.

A glacial lake is a body of water with origins from glacier activity. They are formed when a glacier erodes the land, and then melts, filling the depression created by the glacier.[1]


Near the end of the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago, glaciers began to retreat.[2] A retreating glacier often left behind large deposits of ice in hollows between drumlins or hills. As the ice age ended, these melted to create lakes. This is apparent in the Lake District in Northwestern England where post-glacial sediments are normally between 4 and 6 metres deep.[2] These lakes are often surrounded by drumlins, along with other evidence of the glacier such as moraines, eskers and erosional features such as striations and chatter marks.

These lakes are clearly visible in aerial photos of landforms in regions that were glaciated during the last ice age. The coastlines near these areas are typically very irregular, reflecting the same geological process.[citation needed]

By contrast, other areas have fewer lakes that often appear attached to rivers. Their coastlines are smoother. These areas were carved more by water erosion.

The formation and characteristics of glacial lakes vary between location and can be classified into glacial erosion lake, ice-blocked lake, moraine-dammed lake, other glacial lake, supraglacial lake, and subglacial lake.[1]

Glacial Lakes and Changing Climate

Since the deglaciation of the little ice age Earth has lost more than 50% of its glaciers. This along with the current increase in retreating glaciers caused by climate change has created a shift from frozen to liquid water, increasing the extent and volume of glacial lakes around the world. Most glacial lakes present today can be found in Asia, Europe, and North America. The area which will see the greatest increase in lake formation is the Southern Tibetan Plateau region from debris covered glaciers.[3] This increase in glacial lake formation also indicates an increase in occurrence of glacial lake outburst flood events caused by damming and subsequent breaking of moraine and ice.

Other Languages
العربية: بحيرة جليدية
azərbaycanca: Buzlaq gölü
български: Ледниково езеро
català: Llac glacial
dansk: Issø
eesti: Jääjärv
español: Lago glaciar
Esperanto: Glacia lago
français: Lac glaciaire
한국어: 빙하호
italiano: Lago glaciale
kurdî: Gola cemedê
македонски: Ледничко езеро
Bahasa Melayu: Tasik glasier
Nederlands: Gletsjermeer
日本語: 氷河湖
norsk: Bresjø
norsk nynorsk: Bresjø
português: Lago glacial
română: Lac glaciar
Simple English: Glacial lake
српски / srpski: Глацијално језеро
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Glacijalno jezero
svenska: Issjö
Türkçe: Buzul gölü
українська: Льодовикове озеро
Tiếng Việt: Hồ sông băng
中文: 冰蚀湖