Day 11: Ilulissat

 
Location of ship 11.
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Ilulissat: A fishing community and Iceberg Factory

Ilulissat is a busy fishing port and tourism centre. The Jakobshavn Glacier and Icefjord near Ilulissat (also known as the Ilulissat Icefjord) is known as an iceberg factory as it produces around 10% of all Greenland icebergs. The glacier is the fastest moving in the world, now flowing at a rate of around 50 metres per day. Everywhere the expedition team looked all they could see was ice.

Choose a hotspot for an in-depth look at one of the fascinating things we learned in this location.

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Ilulissat: A vantage point

The expedition team arrived in the town of Ilulissat.  They explored its bustling harbours and shops before hiking through town to view the breathtaking Ilulissat Icefjord.

Choose a hotspot for an in-depth look at one of the fascinating things we learned in this location.

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Ilulissat: Icebergs ahead

Powerful and majestic, a large portion of an iceberg's body is hidden under the water.  The expedition ship had to travel slowly around the ice to ensure the safety of the team.

Choose a hotspot for an in-depth look at one of the fascinating things we learned in this location.

Day 11: Ilulissat

 
A panorama of icebergs.
 
 
 
 
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Photo Closeup

 
 

The Jakobshavn Icefjord

The Jakobshavn Icefjord is known as the iceberg factory of the Arctic due to the billions of tonnes of icebergs that calve off the Greenland Ice Cap and pass out of the fjord each year. The fjord is over 45 kilometres long. At the end of this fjord is the Jakobshavn Glacier which is an outlet glacier of Greenland Ice Cap, the second largest icecap in the world after Antarctica.

A scientist looking at a large glacier.
 

The sinking of the Titanic

It is likely that the iceberg that sunk the Titanic came from Ilulissat.

An illustration of the Titanic sinking.
 

The size of icebergs

These icebergs are massive. Above the water, many are the size of city skyscrapers and this is only about 10% of their actual size.

A massive iceberg and a small boat in front of it.
 

A world heritage site

The Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Icebergs surrounded by water.
 

Ilulissat

The Ilulissat Icefjord is about 45 kilometers long and connects directly the Greenland Ice Cap by way of the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier.

The Ilulissat Icefjord is about 45 kilometers long and connects directly the Greenland Ice Cap by way of the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier.
 

The Sermeq Kujalleq glacier

The icebergs seen here come from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, which is part of the Greenland Ice Cap. It is one of the fastest moving and most active glaciers in the world. It annually calves over 35 kilometres cubed of ice and accounts for 10% of the production of all Greenland icebergs - more than any other glacier outside Antarctica.

A large and long glacier.
 

A map of the Ilulissat Icefjord

The Ilulissat Icefjord is about 45 kilometers long and connects directly the Greenland Ice Cap by way of the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier.

A digital map pointing to the location of the Ilulisaat Icefjord.
 

An impasse

The expedition plan was to go in this direction but the winds had swept the icebergs into a formation that no ship could pass through.

Large icebergs in front of a ship.
 

Cracks in the iceberg

These cracks were formed when the ice from this iceberg was still part of a glacier. As the iceberg peels off from a glacier, many of the iceberg's features remain.

A close up of an iceberg.
 

Geoff Green

This photo was not an easy one for the team to take. They had to go out in Zodiacs and strategically place spotlights to make sure the photography worked. No easy task in a boat moving in the water next to a large moving iceberg!

Geoff Green in a Zodiac in front of icebergs.
 

Sediments

The darker parts of this iceberg still have soil on them from when they were part of a glacier. As the ice moved towards the ocean, it picked up sedimentation from the ground as it scraped its way down the fjord.

Tall icebergs.