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Glaciers, Ice Caps & Icebergs

Inns North

The Tulugak Hotel

The Tulugak Hotel

in Qikiqtarjuaq

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Glaciers, Ice Caps & Icebergs

Glaciers are made up of fallen snow that has compressed into large ice masses. Glaciers form when snow remains in one location over many years and transform over time into ice. Glaciers move due to their sheer mass and flow like very slow rivers. Some glaciers are as small as a football field while others grow to be over a hundred kilometers long. Glaciers occupy about 10 percent of the world's total land area.

An ice cap is a cover of ice that centers around a specific point on the surface of a piece of land. The Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island in Auyuittuq Park is believed by many to be the birthplace of the last ice age. The Penny Ice Cap is huge. It covers over 5,000 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) with ice as thick as 300 meters (1,000 ft) in places. The ice cap provides an excellent record of past climates and has been the base for several major scientific studies into climatic change and global warming.


Norman Glacier
The wall at Norman Glacier

Halo over the Penny Ice Cap
Halo over the Penny Ice Cap


Iceberg in the spring


Small icebergs in the bay

Close-up of Iceberg

Close-up of iceberg


What is an Iceberg?

An iceberg is a mass of ice that has broken off part of a glacier and has fallen into a nearby body of water. Icebergs consists of solid freshwater water ice. They float because the density of the ice is less than the density of sea water.

Many icebergs are moulded into unusual shapes by the wind, waves and the process of melting. Icebergs have been compared to mountains, pyramids and castles. About 10,000 to 30,000 are produced each year. Because nine-tenths of an iceberg is under water, iceberg movement is mostly caused by water currents.

Iceberg Facts

  • The ice that makes up an iceberg is believed to be at least 12,000 years old.
  • The frozen water that makes an iceberg is fresh water, not sea water.
  • Arctic icebergs have reached as far south as the island of Bermuda.
  • The temperature inside an iceberg is around -15 C. At the surface the temperature is about O C.
  • The biggest iceberg ever recorded was 208 miles long and 60 miles wide, a total of 12,000 square miles. The tallest iceberg ever recorded was 550 feet, just over half the height of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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