I’ve been going to Greenland for years, and one of my favourite towns to visit is Ilulissat, famous for its surreal landscapes, where small colourful houses are surrounded by countless icebergs.
There is one area there that I find particularly attractive – Ilulissat Icefjord. In summertime, I love coming there at around midnight, sit down with a thermos full of hot coffee and listen to the icebergs calving while they are making their way into the ocean.
Allow me to share my amazement with this place through the images below.
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Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord
Located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, it is a tidal fjord covered with floating brash and massive ice
It is situated where the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier calves ice into the sea.
Sermeq Kujalleq is also one of the fastest moving (40 m per day) and most active glaciers in the world
Icebergs breaking from the glacier are often so large – up to a kilometer (3,300 ft) in height – that they are too tall to float down the fjord and lie stuck on the bottom of its shallower areas
Sometimes they lie there for years, until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord.
Surreal colours of Midnight Sun in Ilulissat Icefjord
On breaking up the icebergs emerge into the open sea and initially travel north with ocean currents before turning south and running into the Atlantic Ocean.
Larger icebergs typically do not melt until they reach 40-45 degrees north – further south than the United Kingdom and level with New York City
The Icefjord at around 1am in summertime
Whales are often seen feeding in the area
Moon rising over “parked” icebergs
Sermeq Kujalleq is a very productive glacier
It annually calves over 35 km3 of ice, i.e. 10% of the production of all Greenland calf ice and more than any other glacier outside Antarctica.
Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The combination of a huge ice-sheet and the dramatic sounds of a fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord full of icebergs make for a dramatic and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
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