Do all glaciers have lakes beneath them?

Asked by Alan

This is a very interesting question and the subject of much ongoing research. The current hypothesis is that most major ice sheets had lakes beneath them, and current work is attempting to find evidence of these in the geological record, for example, underneath the last British-Irish Ice Sheet.

In terms of smaller valley glaciers, for example, in the Alps, it would depend on their thermal regime, size, and the availability of bedrock basins and topographic lows in which water could accumulate.


I am a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Univeristy, specialising in glaciology and glacial geology. I wrote and developed the website as part of an ongoing commitment to outreach, education and research impact. Read more about me at

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