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A geographic area of perennial snow.
An accumulation of compacted, granular snow in transition from soft snow to ice; it contains much air; the upper portions of most glaciers and ice shelves are usually composed of névé.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



coarse-grained compacted snow consisting of interlocked ice grains. A transitional stage between snow and ice, névé is formed in mountainous regions above the snow line and in polar regions, where precipitation falls mainly as snow but does not melt completely during the summer. Snow is transformed into névé under the action of solar radiation and thaws and as a result of the recrystallization and sublimation of water vapor. The density of névé ranges from 0.45 to 0.8 g/cm3.

Two types of névé are distinguished: infiltration névé and recrystallization névé. Infiltration névé is produced during the refreezing of the water in snow; recrystallization névé is formed as a result of the metamorphism of snow, in which liquid water plays no role. Infiltration névé is usually found in the snowfields of mountain glaciers and may be up to 20–30 m thick. Recrystallization névé is found in the upper layers of ice sheets and, in the antarctic, may be up to 100 m thick.


Kalesnik, S. V. Ocherki gliatsiologii. Moscow, 1963.
Shumskii, P. A. Osnovy strukturnogo ledovedeniia. Moscow, 1955.
Lliboutry, L. Traité de glaciologie, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1964–66.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.