Ilulissat Icefjord

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Ilulissat Icefjord
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Greenland Ilulissat-25.jpg
Iceberg making its way through Ilulissat Icefjord
LocationAvannaata, Greenland
CriteriaNatural: (vii), (viii)
Inscription2004 (28th Session)
Area402,400 ha (994,000 acres)
Coordinates69°08′N 49°30′W / 69.133°N 49.500°W / 69.133; -49.500Coordinates: 69°08′N 49°30′W / 69.133°N 49.500°W / 69.133; -49.500
Ilulissat Icefjord is located in Greenland
Ilulissat Icefjord
Location of Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland

Ilulissat Icefjord (Greenlandic: Ilulissat Kangerlua) is a fjord in western Greenland. Located 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, the Ilulissat Icefjord runs west 40 km (25 mi) from the Greenland ice sheet to Disko Bay just south of Ilulissat town.[1] Ilulissat Icefjord was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 because of its natural beauty and the importance of the fast-moving Jakobshavn Glacier in developing the current scientific understanding of anthropogenic climate change.[1]

Map of Ilulissat Icefjord


Ilulissat Icefjord

The fjord contains the Jakobshavn 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.[1]

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.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Ilulissat Icefjord". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 19 Jun 2021.
  2. ^ "Explore Ilulissat Icefjord – teaching material from GEUS". Archived from the original on 2018-04-06. Retrieved 2016-01-22.


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