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10 Fun facts about glaciers

July 6th, 2016 | By | Filed in Landscape

Glaciers Arctic Kingdom Safari

What are glaciers?

Glaciers are huge, slow-moving, masses of ice. Formed by years of fallen snow that have compressed into ice, these ice masses eventually begin to flow along the land due to gravity. This movement is what sets glaciers apart from ice beds. It also makes them one of nature’s most dramatic – and fascinating – forces.
We’ve seen these glistening giants countless times on our trips and they continue to take our breath away every time. A must-see for every adventurer and nature lover, here are 10 fun facts about glaciers:

1. The eastern Arctic houses the biggest and oldest glaciers in Canada. A remnant of the Laurentide ice sheet, which covered much of Canada during the last glacial period of the Earth’s current ice age, the Barnes Ice Cap in Baffin Island contains Canada’s oldest ice. Some of it is more than 100,000 years old!

2. The Penny Ice Cap in Auyuittuq National Park in Iqaluit is the largest ice mass in the southern Canadian Arctic.  It covers approximately 6,400 km2. Researchers have been studying this ice cap for years. Measurement of the Penny Ice Cap is important for researchers to understand the changes of glaciers, especially with climate change and the increased melting over the past decade. (Visit it on this safari trip!

3. Glaciers cover almost 10% of the world’s land mass, approximately 14.9 million km2. During the peak of the last ice age, they covered almost a third of the Earth’s land.

4. The world’s largest glacier is 435km (270 miles) long and more than 96 km (60 miles) wide at its widest point. This glacier is called the Lambert glacier and is found in Antarctica.

5. Glaciers hold approximately 69% of the world’s fresh water.

6. If all land ice melted sea levels would rise 70 meters (230 feet).

7. There are two main types: Alpine glaciers and Continental glaciers. Alpine glaciers flow downward from mountaintops and through valleys. Continental glaciers form large horizontal sheets, aren’t affected by topography including mountains, and tend to flatten anything in their path.

8. Glaciers can be found on every continent, except Australia. While most are situated near the Earth’s poles, in Antarctica and near Greenland, many can be found close to the equator, including Mexico.

9. Glacier ice crystals can grow to be as large as baseballs.

10. Some glaciers appear blue when they become very dense. With years of compression, tiny air pockets between ice crystals get forced out. The ice can absorb all other colours in the spectrum, such as red and yellow light, and reflects blue light. The denser the glacier, the more blue it will appear.

Facts about Glaciers Arctic Kingdom

Want to see glaciers for yourself?

Bask in the blue glow of Canadian Arctic glaciers – and even drink glacier melt water – on these safaris:

Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island – Book now for August!
Baffin Island Dive Safari – Book now for May!
Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari – Book now for May and June!

Want to create your own glacier adventure?

Contact us to ask about custom trips.

Taiga, tundra and Arctic explained

July 21st, 2015 | By | Filed in Landscape

CanadaEcozonesEveryone of us has a mental image of what the Arctic looks like, even if we have never been. Natural Resources Canada divides the Arctic in two: The Northern and Southern Arctic. Their delineation is based on rocks and plants. Baffin Island is in the Northern Arctic ecozone, where as our Polar Bear Cabins are situated in the Southern Arctic ecozone.

Taiga Shield

Caribou in autumnThe Arctic has been described as treeless, yet especially-adapted willows grow, if only a few centimeters high. Taiga, on the other hand, is a region where spindly spruce and fir grow - stark silhouettes against the sky. Taiga is also home to immense wetlands. Our Autumn Caribou and Northern Lights Safari occurs in the Taiga Shield Region.

Ecozone vs. Biome

Tundra is not an ecozone, but it is a type of biome. Biomes being a large type of community defined by a significant vegetation type. Ecozones can be comprised of a number of distinct biomes. You can hike tundra in the Northern Arctic on Baffin Island and in the Southern Arctic around our polar bear cabins. You can visit the Taiga Shield and hike tundra at the same time.

The Canadian Arctic

The Department of Natural Resources definition of the Arctic is not the only definition. Some people define the Arctic as anything north of 60. Others define the Arctic as anything north of the treeline. We, at Arctic Kingdom, think the region may be defined by weather and wildlife.
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