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Hanging Valley, Alaska

Erosional Landform Pictures


A hanging valley is one with an abrupt change in elevation at its outlet. (more below)
A valley that runs off a cliff
Photo (c) 1979 Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com (fair use policy)
This hanging valley opens onto Tarr Inlet, Alaska, part of Glacier Bay National Park (see more photos from here). There are two main ways of creating a hanging valley. In the first, a glacier excavates a deep valley faster than a tributary glacier can keep up. When the glaciers melt, the smaller valley is left suspended. Yosemite Valley is well known for these. The second way a hanging valley forms is when the sea erodes the coast faster than a stream valley can cut down to grade. In both cases, the hanging valley commonly ends with a waterfall.

This hanging valley is also a cirque.

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