Greenland’s calving Eqi Glacier
I was able to visit the Eqi Glacier in the south-west of Greenland in August 2012. It is easy to reach by boat from Ilulissat. We spent the night at Glacier Camp Eqi and were relatively close to the glacier. So we reached the edge of the glacier tongue on a fairly leisurely hike. Looking at today’s satellite images, I suspect that the hike will be a little longer… The Eqi Glacier, also known as Eqip Sermia, has shrunk in the meantime and is now a little further away from the camp. The glacier calves very frequently (it is called calving when ice breaks off from the glacier tongue) and is therefore very popular with day trippers, as it is guaranteed to see spectacular icefalls here! Although this is actually not a good sign.
The thicker the ice – and possibly still in contact with the seabed – the slower a glacier calves and it melts only slowly. However, if a glacier calves very frequently, this means that it flows faster and also melts faster. This is the case with the Eqi glacier, which has a very high flow rate. If the glacier tongue is also surrounded by water from below, the glacier melts even faster. In Greenland, however, the ice sheet, the inland ice, is also shrinking at an unstoppable pace. From 2006 to 2015, it lost an average of around 280 gigatons of ice every year, which is roughly equivalent to the mass of all the glaciers in the Alps (source: Wikipedia). It’s hard to imagine what the effects will be in ten or twenty years’ time….
Location: Eqi Glacier – Greenland, Arctic
Time: 2012 - August
The captain should not sail too close to the Eqi Glacier, as there is a high risk of a huge piece of ice breaking off and causing large waves. Anyway, the Eqi Glacier is a real natural spectacle!
Contribution by: I. Jucker
Date of submission: 15/01/2024
You can read and view all my arctic experiences on my blog TravelExperience.ch