Top Answer. A retreating glacier doesn't actually travel backward, but is melting faster than it is gaining new ice. At locations where a glacier flows rapidly, friction creates giant cracks called crevasses, which may make travel across a glacier treacherous. The presence of soft, deformable sediments promotes a faster movement of ice. The flow of ice streams is influenced by several factors. Sometimes glaciers will move much faster than normal. These long, dark bands of debris are visible on top and along the edges of glaciers. The top layer is snow. Although parts of the supplement have become outdated, several components of Glacier Power are still user favorites and rank among ASF’s most-visited pages. The sides also flow slower than the middle, also because of friction. The accumulation zone has three major layers. This means that, since it is more... See full answer below. 16.2 How Glaciers Work There are two main types of glaciers. Icebergs come in a variety of shapes. The middle layer is the firn, a transitional form between the snow and the solid ice below. This is called a glacial "surge." Many of the Q&A pages contain vocabulary lists, review questions, or exercises. The bottom layer is ice. Most icebergs are white in color, but some may appear blue or even green. The thicker parts of a glacier will flow faster than where it is thinner. The inflexible upper portion may split as it moves over the changing landscape. The central part of the glacier moves fastest than its edges as it is thickest from the center. The top half of the glacier moves faster than the bottom, presumably because of friction. Ice streams are fast-moving bodies of ice that are usually a part of an ice sheet that moves relatively faster than the surrounding ice. ASF has updated Glacier Power content in the form of Q&A pages and lesson plans for teachers. Continental glaciers cover vast areas of land in extreme polar regions, including Antarctica and Greenland (Figure 16.7).Alpine glaciers (a.k.a. From top to bottom, photos courtesy of Galen Dossin, Zee Evans, and Jon Brack, National Science Foundation. Ice streams can move at speeds of more than 1,000 meters per year. Land-ending ice sheets can move 30 to 325 feet (9 to 99 meters) per year, while glaciers that terminate in ice shelves move much faster, from 1,000 to more than 5,000 feet (305 to 1,600 m) per year. When traveling down a valley, for example, a glacier moves faster in the middle. Crevasses also form when different parts of a glacier move at different speeds. Ice is full of tiny air bubbles that scatter all color wavelengths the same amount, giving the ice a white appearance. Other common glacial features are moraines, created when the glacier pushes or carries rocky debris as it moves. Below that, a glacier is less brittle and can slide over uneven surfaces without cracking. Because of friction, the top of a glacier moves faster than the bottom. The middle of the glacier at the equilibrium line flows fastest, the head and terminus flow slower. A glacier (US: / ˈ ɡ l eɪ ʃ ər / or UK: / ˈ ɡ l æ s i ər, ˈ ɡ l eɪ s i ər /) is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. The ice in a glacier moves the fastest where it is the least dense and is subjected to the least amount of friction. valley glaciers) originate on mountains, mostly in temperate and polar regions (Figure 16.1), but even in tropical regions if the mountains are high enough. 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