"The majority of visitors in Greenland drive up to and onto the ice in cross-country vehicles."

Glaciers in Greenland

Glaciers are not an unusual sight in Greenland due to the gigantic ice sheet that covers most of the country.

However, there are only a few places where the glaciers occur immediately adjacent to a town, and therefore can best be appreciated on an excursion.

The majority of visitors in Greenland drive up to and onto the ice in cross-country vehicles as at Kangerlussuaq, fly in helicopters to the ice as at Nuuk or Ilulissat - or sail to the glaciers, which can be done from most towns.

At Narsarsuaq it is also possible to walk to the glacier, although the hike takes several hours.

Rivers of ice

The majority of glaciers in Greenland are slow-flowing rivers of ice that emerge from the ice sheet.

It is not until the ice begins to move that the term glacier can be used, and if the ice breaks free or falls into the water then the term iceberg is more appropriate.

Ice is constantly released at the head of the glacier due to the force of gravity and the pressure from the enormous volume of ice behind.

The sea in the vicinity of productive glaciers is covered with castles and towers of iceberg and the ice crushes everything along the mountainsides during its slow passage forward.

"Ice is constantly released at the head of the glacier."

"Glaciers move forward as a result of the force of gravity..."

The movement of glaciers in Greenland

Glaciers move forward as a result of the force of gravity and by means of meltwater which acts as a sort of lubricant at the bottom of a glacier.

Over a longer period, glaciers alternately move forward and pull back depending on a number of different climatic factors.

Many researchers believe that climate change plays an important role in connection with the fact that glaciers all over the world are withdrawing.

Crevasses and pinnacles

In contrast to the ice sheet, which is completely flat in the middle, glaciers are usually jagged in their contours. Glacier crevasses occur because the ice is moving at different speeds.

This creates both attractive pinnacles that rise into the air at a glacier head, but also treacherous crevasses that can be concealed by snow. You should therefore never go up onto a glacier without an authorised guide.

Glacier hikes with authorised and highly trained guides can be undertaken from several locations in Greenland.

"Glacier crevasses occur because the ice is moving at different speeds."