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Piece of Shelf-Ice, Antarctic Peninsula

Ice shelves are permanent floating sheets of ice that connect to a landmass. Most of the world’s ice shelves hug the coast of Antarctica. Ice from enormous ice sheets slowly oozes into the sea through glaciers and ice streams. If the ocean is cold enough, that newly arrived ice doesn't melt right away. Instead it may float on the surface and grow larger as glacial ice behind it continues to flow into the sea. Along protected coastlines, the resulting ice shelves can survive for thousands of years, bolstered by the rock of peninsulas and islands. Ice shelves grow when they gain ice from land, and occasionally shrink when icebergs calve off their edges. This give and take helps them maintain a dynamic stability.

Year: 2016

From album: Antarctic biodiversity

Photographer: Peter Prokosch

Tags: Antarctica Arctic Atlantic change climate Environmental Global ocean Pacific Southern worldwide

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