The author reviews and amplifies his theory of glacier surges. This theory is based on the premise that a glacier surge occurs when a water layer at the base of a glacier attains a thickness sufficient to drown the obstacles in the bed that offer the greatest hindrance to sliding. The following new result is presented: in the case of a glacier bed which is very smooth, the stress concentrations in the vicinity of obstacles in the bed are so high that the power-law creep equation is no longer valid. As a consequence, the size of the controlling obstacles is reduced and thus a surge is more likely to occur.

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