Thickness of the Greenland Ice Cap

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Lutgens, Frederick K., & Edward J. Tarbuck. The Atmosphere. 6th ed. 1995: 397. "Elsmitte, at the center of the Greenland ice cap is rests an elevation of almost 3,000 meters." 3000 m
"Arctic." Encyclopedia Britannica. 1999-2000. "An ice core 4,560 feet deep was recovered in the mid-1960s from Camp Century in northwestern Greenland, and a core 6,683 feet deep from Dye 3, southeastern Greenland, was recovered in 1981." 2037 m
Hibler, W. Monthly Weather Review. 108 (1980): 1943-1973. "The mean draft in this 290,000 km2 area was 5,337 m in 1976" 5337 m
Curtis, Neil & Michael Allaby. Planet Earth. New York: Kingfisher, 1993: 38-39. "An ice core 4,560 feet deep was recovered in the mid-1960s from Camp Century in northwestern Greenland." 1390 m

Greenland is a ninety percent ice-covered land region. The remaining ten percent contains no ice due to inadequate snowfall and or relatively warm temperatures.

The ice found in Greenland is the result of the annual accumulation of snow, rime, and other forms of solid precipitation. As these layers of precipitation build up, they become closely packed under the accumulated weight as the air is eventually squeezed out. The ice layers at the bottom eventually become impenetrable.

The thickness of the ice cap in Greenland is dependent on the surface temperature, depth of snow cover, and amount of heat flux from the water below. An ice core of 2237 m deep was discovered in 1981 southeastern Greenland. The average thickness of ice at the ridges have been found to be 4548 m.

On a related note, scientists analyzing ice in the Arctic Oceran have reported a 1.31 m or 40% decline in the average draft (thickness) from the first measurements in 1958 to the present. This decline has been attributed to global warming. It has been suggested that the Arctic region is more susceptible to global warming. If the thickness of the Greenland ice cap were to begin melting, the ecosystems of the Arctic and the world would be affected because there will be a larger volume of water in the oceans on Earth.

Emmanuelle St. Jean -- 2000

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
New Book of Popular Science. Volume 2. Danbury: Grolier, 1996: 261. "The massive Greenland ice cap averages 2.3 kilometers in thickness." 2.3 km
(average)
New Encyclopedia Britannica. Volume 5. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998: 472. "It extends 1,570 miles (2,530 km) north-south, has a maximum width of 680 miles (1,094 km) near its northern margin, and has an average thickness of about 5,000 feet (1,500 m)." 1.5 km
(average)
Lambert, David. Field Guide To Geology. New York: Diagram Visual, 1988: 154. "Most of Greenland lies beneath an ice cap twice the size of Australia and up to 14,000 ft (4,300 m) thick." 4.3 km
(thickest)
Dixon, Dougal. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Science. Volume 3. New York: Macmillan, 1977: 38. "Toward its center, the Greenland ice-sheet has been shown to be 3,000 m (9,840 ft.) thick." 3 km
(thickest)
Climbing Into The Greenland Ice Cap. National Tourism Board of Greenland. "At its thickest points the ice has a depth of more than 3 km to the bedrock." 3 km
(thickest)

Greenland, officially Kalaallit Nunaat, is the largest island in the world, lying mainly within the Arctic Circle off northeast Canada. It is a self-governing overseas division of Denmark. The capital is Nuuk (formerly Godthab). More than four fifths of Greenland lies buried under an ice cap that has an average thickness of 2.8 kilometers. The area of Greenland is about 840,000 square miles (2,175,000 square kilometers). It is about 1,650 miles (2,650 kilometers) long, with a maximum width of some 650 miles (1,050 kilometers). Its people, however, live only on the rocky coastal fringe, chiefly in the southwest.

Lying to the northeast of continental North America and almost wholly within the Arctic Circle, Greenland is subject to intense cold and terrible blizzards. Glaciers flow from Greenland's icy mountains and discharge a billion tons of ice into the sea every year. Many of these enormous icebergs are carried into the lanes of ocean travel.

Some sections of Greenland have enough soil and warmth to support tundra vegetation and small trees. Potatoes and other hardy vegetables are grown. Greenlanders, who are Eskimo with a mixture of European blood, live chiefly by hunting and fishing. They must import much of their food, clothing, and other necessities. Sheep raising and fish canning are growing industries. Exports include cryolite, a scarce mineral used in separating aluminum from its ores; fish and fish products; and hides and skins. Recently lead and zinc have been mined and molybdenum and large uranium deposits discovered.

In spite of hundreds of years of Scandinavian influence, many of the island's people continue to practice traditional cultural activities. Their houses were formerly of stone and sod, but wood, which must be imported, is the modern material. A few Eskimo build igloos for the winter or when traveling. Nearly all settlements have schools, and all children are required to have elementary education.

Gennady Spivak -- 2000


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