There are really only two causes: heat, and increased molecular activity (which is really heat). Any kind of heat will melt ice. However, the bonds of the water molecules in ice can also be broken by increasing the vibration of the molecules without directly applying heat. For example, a microwave oven does not use direct heat, but rather vibrates the molecules, resulting in heat.
It is the vibration of the molecules that prevents moving rivers from freezing right at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
I neglected to mention one other method: salt. The salt will dissolve into the ice, and it becomes more difficult for the salinated water to freeze.
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