The theory of channelized water flow through glaciers, most commonly associated with the names of Hans Röthlisberger and Ron Shreve and their 1972 papers in the Journal of Glaciology, was developed at a time when interest in glacier-bed processes was expanding, and the possible relationship between glacier sliding and water at the bed was becoming of keen interest. The R-channel theory provided for the first time a physically based conceptual model of water flow through glaciers. The theory also marks the emergence of glacier hydrology as a glaciological discipline with goals and methods distinct from those of surface-water hydrology.
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Röthlisberger channel theory: its origins and consequences