Ilulissat Icefjord

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Ilulissat Icefjord
Greenland Ilulissat-25.jpg
Iceberg making its way through Ilulissat Icefjord
Map showing the location of Ilulissat Icefjord
Map showing the location of Ilulissat Icefjord
Location within Greenland
Location Near Ilulissat, Greenland
Coordinates 69°09′N 50°30′W / 69.150°N 50.500°W / 69.150; -50.500Coordinates: 69°09′N 50°30′W / 69.150°N 50.500°W / 69.150; -50.500
Length 40 km (25 mi)
Type: Natural
Criteria: vii, viii
Designated: 2004 (28th session)
Reference No. 1149
State Party: Denmark
Region: Europe and North America

Ilulissat Icefjord (Greenlandic: Ilulissat Kangerlua) is a fjord in western Greenland. Ilulissat Icefjord was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.


It runs west 40 km (25 mi) from the Greenland ice sheet to Disko Bay just south of Ilulissat town. At its eastern end is the Jakobshavn Isbræ glacier (Greenlandic: Sermeq Kujalleq), the most productive glacier in the Northern Hemisphere. The glacier flows at a rate of 20–35 m (66–115 ft) per day, resulting in around 20 billion tonnes of icebergs calved off and passing out of the fjord every year. 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 for years, until they are broken up by the force of the glacier and icebergs further up the fjord. 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).

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