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Melting Glacier in Greenland

January 12th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Melting glacier in Greenland - November 30th, 2008

Melting glacier in Greenland - November 30th, 2008

A glacier gradually melts into the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Greenland.

Glaciers form where snow and ice accumulation exceed snow and ice melt. As the snow and ice thicken it will reach a point where it begins to move.

The snow that forms glaciers is subject to repeated freezing and thawing, which changes it into a form of granular ice called firn. Under the pressure of the layers of ice and snow above it, this granular ice fuses into denser and denser firn.

Over a period of years, layers of firn undergo further compaction and become glacial ice, seen on the right hand side of the image.

On the opposite end of the glacier, at its foot or terminal, is the deposition or ablation zone, where more ice is lost through melting than gained from snowfall and sediment is deposited. This zone can be seen towards the left, as chunks of ice breaking off the more solid part of the glacier.

The place where the glacier thins to nothing is called the ice front, visible on the far left of the image.

source Wikipedia

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