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Photographer's Note

How do you photograph a 2 km wide glacier snout when there are no boats for miles around and nothing to provide scale? Pretty difficult! All I can tell you to help try and convey the overwhelming experience of seeing a glacier terminal close up, is to point out that the peak on the left is 1,400 metres high (about 4,600 ft), and if there were any boats in front of the glacier, I doubt you would be able to see them in this picture because they would be too small.

I calculated from the dimensions of this photograph that as the glacier is 2,000 metres wide (if my map is correct) then the height of the glacier above the water level is about 50 metres (over 210 feet).

I took many close-ups of the glacier snout, but they seem to convey even less of the scale of the glacier than this photograph (I have posted one to the Workshop here so please see if you agree with me).

This photograph was taken about 2 km from the glacier, from the middle of the Sermiligao fjord, as we were speeding towards it in our seal hunting boat – but even then I had to use a 12 mm lens to get it all in. The clear air in Greenland makes everything look much closer than it is, and the magnificent scale of the scenery makes everything look smaller than it is.

The Knud Rasmussen glacier is one of two glaciers that are actively calving icebergs into this fjord. Like most glaciers in Greenland, it is slowly receding, but this is not a new phenomenon. New research published by the University of Aarhus last year suggests that glaciers in Greenland have been receding for more than 100 years. It is possible that global warming, and the increases in temperatures that have been recorded in Greenland since the mid-1990s might accelerate that recession, but researchers say it is too early to register the effects of the current global warming on the movement of glaciers. The average recession of the glaciers studied by the researchers was calculated at 8 metres a year since 1953.

There is also another glacier called Knud Rasmussen in north-west Greenland (Sermiligao is in eastern Greenland), but that one is about half the size of this one. The glaciers are named after a Danish-Inuit explorer who between 1912 and 1931 undertook six expeditions across Greenland gathering ethnographic data and mapping parts of the island which had not been previously explored.

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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