hanging glacier

Hanging glaciers are isolated masses of glacial ice flowing in high, detached valleys and protruding over the cliff edge that defines such a valley’s lower limit. They’re termed hanging because they never reach the valley below intact. They bend under the force of gravity to hang suspended above the lower landscape. From time to time, the vertical section of the glacier fractures and falls because of the tremendous unsupported weight. It’s this plummeting ice (not to be confused with an icefall) along with avalanches, and not continuously flowing ice, that finally brings the hanging glacier’s store of moisture to the land below.

William Kittredge