- Group(s): Glaciers - Key Terms
Outwash plains are formed in front of a glacier and are where material is deposited over a wide area, carried out from the glacier by meltwater. Discharge occurs from both the melting snout of the glacier and the emergence of meltwater streams from within the body of the glacier. The finest sediments are carried further away from the glacier. Coarser materials are deposited nearer to the snout of the glacier as the meltwater drops these first as its energy declines. During times of higher discharge, particularly in the summer months when glacial ablation is high, braided meltwater streams will intersect the plain as the balance of erosion/deposition shifts temporarily towards net erosion closer to the ice front.