Greenland. The Story of Glaciers






                 Excerpts from Icebergs.  Christian Kempf. 

                   From Snowflake to Ice Caps to Glaciers*


     Snow gathers in hollows called “cirques,” sometimes up to 20 to 30 meters deep, (65 - 98 ft) assisted by wind, rain and avalanches.

     Fallen snow packs down and becomes less complex in structure as it releases much of the air that was trapped inside between the individual flakes.  This granular snow turns into ice over several years as the crystals bond to each other under high pressure, reaching ever larger sizes, that then bond to each other in turn.

     It generally takes five to ten years for snow to turn to ice.  In Greenland or Antarctica, this process can take a hundred years, while it takes just three to five years on certain glaciers in Svalbard or the Alps, where there is greater snowfall and the climate is cooler – speeding up the process.

     Glaciers are formed from successive layers of snow, though freezing mist or surface meltwater can also cause the ice to build up.  These accumulations of ice in the center of continents and polar islands are called ice caps (up to 50,000 km2) or ice sheets (over 50,000 km2) (19,305 sq mi).

The ice is up to 600 meters deep in Svalbard and the Campo do Hielo, Chile, (1968 ft).  3100 meters in Greenland (10,170 ft) and up to 4800 meters in Antarctica (15,748 ft or 3 miles deep).

Greenland. Icebergs: Big and Blue

August 27, 2015

So, you like icebergs?  I mean like really big ones?

The book Icebergs by Christian Kempf shows you and tells you everything you ever wanted to know about big icebergs … and maybe even more.  *

The photographs are outstanding.

The Table of Contents includes: glaciers and ice caps, iceberg routes, classifications, shapes (tabular, arch, pinnacle, bestiary), colors, and explorers.  There’s an entire chapter on The Titanic.

There’s an Iceberg Glossary: everything from Agglomerated Brash, to Bergy Bit, to Firn, to Growler, to Ram and Rill, to Tsunami, to Very Large Iceberg – an actual classification of an iceberg jutting more than 75 meters (246 ft) above the surface of the sea with a length of over 200 meters (656 ft).

The Inuit natives and the main group of inhabitants of Greenland, the Kalaallit, have a rich vocabulary of words to describe the ice, since 79% of the country is covered by it.  The author lists eighteen words, but admits there are about forty words to describe snow and ice.  (Apparently, the “well-known fact” is actually true.)

Argentina. Glacier Perito Moreno

Glacier Perito Moreno

El Calafate



May 16, 2012

My Dear Family and Friends,

From my perch on a boulder in the middle of this glorious outdoor refrigerator-icebox, I tread along the rocky shoreline of the frigid water nearby.  I stare at the thick plateau of advancing ice.  I gaze at the black and white mountains beyond.  Under three layers of clothing, I sit here alone.   Once again, alone…. 

….Thanks to Diego Linares….