Incredible Ice Sheets and Impressive Icebergs in Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord

Incredible Ice Sheets and Impressive Icebergs in Greenland's Ilulissat Icefjord Photo Credit: Baron Reznik

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, Ilulissat Icefjord is a fjord in western Greenland that runs 40 km (25 miles) west from Disko Bay, just south from the town of Ilulissat.

Jakobshavn Isbræ, the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere, is found in this region. It flows at a rate of 20–35m (66–115 feet) per day, resulting in approximately 20 billion tonnes of icebergs passing out of the fjord every year. That being said, some icebergs that break off the large glacier are often so large, measuring 3,300 feet in height, that they are too tall to float down the fjord and instead lie stuck at the bottom of its shallower areas for years until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord.

Once released from the fjord, these icebergs emerge into the open sea and often travel north with ocean currents before turning south and running into the Atlantic Ocean. Their slow melt begins when reaching 40-45 degrees north, south of the United Kingdom and level with New York City. Infamously, the British passenger liner Titanic collided with an iceberg in these waters before it sank on April 15, 1912 during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, USA.


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