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On Speeding Glaciers and Huge Icebergs

KANGERLUSSUAQ, GREENLAND– We caught up with glaciologist Mark Fahnestock on his way back home after a few weeks camping near the Jakobshavn Isbræ, the most productive and among the fastest-moving glaciers in the world. How fast? From measurements just made this year, up to 10 meters a day during the summer.

The Jakobshavn is an outlet glacier, one of the few places where the giant Greenland ice sheet can shed ice in the form of gigantic icebergs. Sometimes up to a cubic kilometer breaks off the glacier into the sea in one massive iceberg calving. In this interview, Mark describes some of the physics of this speedy glacier and why so many scientists are interested in studying the dynamics of Jakobshavn. (Video by Lisa Strong-Aufhasuer.)

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We’ll post more of our interview with Dr. Fahnestock in an upcoming dispatch with footage of one of the giant calving events.

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  1. scary !!