Ice field

Southern Patagonian Ice Field

An ice field (also spelled icefield) is a large area of interconnected glaciers, usually found in a mountainous region.[1] They are often found in the colder climates and higher altitudes of the world where there is sufficient precipitation for them to form. The higher peaks of the underlying mountain rock that protrude through the icefields are known as nunataks. Ice fields are larger than alpine glaciers, smaller than ice sheets and ice caps. The topography of ice fields is determined by the shape of the surrounding land forms, while ice caps have their own forms overriding underlying shapes.


Ice fields are formed by a large accumulation of snow which, through years of compression and freezing, turns into ice. Due to ice’s susceptibility to gravity, ice fields usually form over large areas that are basins or atop plateaus, thus allowing a continuum of ice to form over the landscape uninterrupted by glacial channels. Glaciers often form on the edges of ice fields, serving as gravity-propelled drains off the ice field which is in turn replenished by snowfall.

While an ice cap is not constrained by topography, an ice field is. An ice field is also distinguishable from an ice cap because it does not have a dome-like form.[2]

Other Languages
العربية: حقل جليدي
català: Camp de gel
español: Campo de hielo
Esperanto: Glacikampo
euskara: Izotz eremu
français: Champ de glace
한국어: 빙원
עברית: שדה קרח
日本語: 氷原
português: Campo de gelo
Türkçe: Buz alanı
українська: Льодовикове поле
中文: 冰原