ice melange or sikkusak

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ice melange or sikkusak

Jason Amundson
Dear Cryolisters,

There has been some discussion in recent years as to whether sea ice
and/or dense packs of icebergs can affect the stability of
marine-terminating glaciers. Within these discussions people have
typically used the terms "ice melange" or the supposedly Greenlandic
term "sikkusak" to refer to a dense pack of icebergs. I would like to
see us converge toward a single accepted expression.

I have tended to favor the term ice melange for the following reasons:
1. There is a historical precedence for using the word in the literature
on Antarctic glaciology.
2. Melange means "mixture" and is therefore a nicely descriptive word.
3. Using "ice melange" as a common noun cannot be viewed to be offensive
in the same way as in changing the name of a specific place. As an
example, I suspect that nobody will ever use the term "sermeq" to refer
to a glacier in scientific literature except when referring to a
specific glacier.
4. Nobody that I've talked to in West Greenland seems to know the word
sikkusak (maybe because sikkusak isn't as common there as in East
Greenland?).
5. There is also the question as to whether or not a "sikkusak" in
Greenland is the same thing as an "ice melange" in Antarctica. (I
suspect any differences would be subtle.)

Regarding point 4, I've recently contacted the Greenlandic Language
Secretariat for a clarification. They told me that I probably meant the
word "sikkussaq", which means packed by ice or surrounded by sea ice.
The word is derived from the word "siku", which means sea ice. Its not
yet clear to me if "sikkussaq" is a noun or an adjective. At any rate,
the word definitely implies that sea ice is an important component. A
dense pack of icebergs does not necessarily consist of sea ice, although
sea ice can help to provide structural rigidity. In my mind, then, it
seems that sikkussaq is a stricter definition than what is often
(currently) desired in scientific discussion.

Also, just to convey the complexity of Greenlandic, I was told that the
word "sikuusaq" means artificial sea ice. Non-Greenlanders need to be
very careful when using Greenlandic words!

I would be very curious to know if any of you have talked with East
Greenlanders regarding sikkussaq. In what context is the word used?

If there is good motivation for switching to the term sikkussaq then I'm
all for it. At the end of the day the physics doesn't care about the
linguistics, as long as we are talking about the same material. For the
moment, though, I'm going to stick with ice melange.

Cheers,
Jason Amundson

P.S. Please respond either directly to me or to the cryolist discussion.
I will summarize the responses in a subsequent e-mail.
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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

P. Wadhams
Re sikussak (not sikkusak).
   This term was first proposed for an ice type by Lauge Koch (1945) in his
classic work "The East Greenland Ice" (Medd. om Groenland, Bd 130). It is
an Inuit term used in East Greenland meaning "ice like ocean ice" and
referring specifically to very old fast ice which has attained extreme
thickness through age, low ocean heat flux (eg through being in a fjord),
and/or high precipitation (again, for example, in a fjord). Specific cases
of sikussak occur in Independence Fjord and other fjords in the far north
of Greenland. Sikussak has nothing whatever to doing with icebergs or
melanges thereof. Sikussak was fully described in my book "Ice in the
Ocean" (Wadhams, 2000), with a photograph of it (p 107), a salinity profile
through a sikussak core (p 108), and descriptions of other areas where
sikussak-like ice is observed, e.g. fast ice formed in embayments of
Antarctic ice shelves that are created by break-out of icebergs (photo
p.106), Best wishes Peter Wadhams



On Oct 28 2010, Jason Amundson wrote:

>Dear Cryolisters,
>
>There has been some discussion in recent years as to whether sea ice
>and/or dense packs of icebergs can affect the stability of
>marine-terminating glaciers. Within these discussions people have
>typically used the terms "ice melange" or the supposedly Greenlandic
>term "sikkusak" to refer to a dense pack of icebergs. I would like to
>see us converge toward a single accepted expression.
>
>I have tended to favor the term ice melange for the following reasons:
>1. There is a historical precedence for using the word in the literature
>on Antarctic glaciology.
>2. Melange means "mixture" and is therefore a nicely descriptive word.
>3. Using "ice melange" as a common noun cannot be viewed to be offensive
>in the same way as in changing the name of a specific place. As an
>example, I suspect that nobody will ever use the term "sermeq" to refer
>to a glacier in scientific literature except when referring to a
>specific glacier.
>4. Nobody that I've talked to in West Greenland seems to know the word
>sikkusak (maybe because sikkusak isn't as common there as in East
>Greenland?).
>5. There is also the question as to whether or not a "sikkusak" in
>Greenland is the same thing as an "ice melange" in Antarctica. (I
>suspect any differences would be subtle.)
>
>Regarding point 4, I've recently contacted the Greenlandic Language
>Secretariat for a clarification. They told me that I probably meant the
>word "sikkussaq", which means packed by ice or surrounded by sea ice.
>The word is derived from the word "siku", which means sea ice. Its not
>yet clear to me if "sikkussaq" is a noun or an adjective. At any rate,
>the word definitely implies that sea ice is an important component. A
>dense pack of icebergs does not necessarily consist of sea ice, although
>sea ice can help to provide structural rigidity. In my mind, then, it
>seems that sikkussaq is a stricter definition than what is often
>(currently) desired in scientific discussion.
>
>Also, just to convey the complexity of Greenlandic, I was told that the
>word "sikuusaq" means artificial sea ice. Non-Greenlanders need to be
>very careful when using Greenlandic words!
>
>I would be very curious to know if any of you have talked with East
>Greenlanders regarding sikkussaq. In what context is the word used?
>
>If there is good motivation for switching to the term sikkussaq then I'm
>all for it. At the end of the day the physics doesn't care about the
>linguistics, as long as we are talking about the same material. For the
>moment, though, I'm going to stick with ice melange.
>
>Cheers,
>Jason Amundson
>
>P.S. Please respond either directly to me or to the cryolist discussion.
>I will summarize the responses in a subsequent e-mail.
>_______________________________________________
>You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
>To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
>To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
>
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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

ihowat
In reply to this post by Jason Amundson
Jason,

Mélange is a term already used in geology to describe a breccia with
exceptionally large range in grain sizes (from clay to boulders 100's
of meters long) produced through regional-scale shearing at the
leading edge of a subduction zone. The iceberg/sea ice mix we're
discussing seems to be a good enough glaciological analogue to this -
a mix of all-sized bergs and bits produced by shearing and fracture at
the ice front and "lithified" to varying degrees by sea ice.

Cheers,
Ian H.



On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 6:09 PM, Jason Amundson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dear Cryolisters,
>
> There has been some discussion in recent years as to whether sea ice and/or
> dense packs of icebergs can affect the stability of marine-terminating
> glaciers. Within these discussions people have typically used the terms "ice
> melange" or the supposedly Greenlandic term "sikkusak" to refer to a dense
> pack of icebergs. I would like to see us converge toward a single accepted
> expression.
>
> I have tended to favor the term ice melange for the following reasons:
> 1. There is a historical precedence for using the word in the literature on
> Antarctic glaciology.
> 2. Melange means "mixture" and is therefore a nicely descriptive word.
> 3. Using "ice melange" as a common noun cannot be viewed to be offensive in
> the same way as in changing the name of a specific place. As an example, I
> suspect that nobody will ever use the term "sermeq" to refer to a glacier in
> scientific literature except when referring to a specific glacier.
> 4. Nobody that I've talked to in West Greenland seems to know the word
> sikkusak (maybe because sikkusak isn't as common there as in East
> Greenland?).
> 5. There is also the question as to whether or not a "sikkusak" in Greenland
> is the same thing as an "ice melange" in Antarctica. (I suspect any
> differences would be subtle.)
>
> Regarding point 4, I've recently contacted the Greenlandic Language
> Secretariat for a clarification. They told me that I probably meant the word
> "sikkussaq", which means packed by ice or surrounded by sea ice. The word is
> derived from the word "siku", which means sea ice. Its not yet clear to me
> if "sikkussaq" is a noun or an adjective. At any rate, the word definitely
> implies that sea ice is an important component. A dense pack of icebergs
> does not necessarily consist of sea ice, although sea ice can help to
> provide structural rigidity. In my mind, then, it seems that sikkussaq is a
> stricter definition than what is often (currently) desired in scientific
> discussion.
>
> Also, just to convey the complexity of Greenlandic, I was told that the word
> "sikuusaq" means artificial sea ice. Non-Greenlanders need to be very
> careful when using Greenlandic words!
>
> I would be very curious to know if any of you have talked with East
> Greenlanders regarding sikkussaq. In what context is the word used?
>
> If there is good motivation for switching to the term sikkussaq then I'm all
> for it. At the end of the day the physics doesn't care about the
> linguistics, as long as we are talking about the same material. For the
> moment, though, I'm going to stick with ice melange.
>
> Cheers,
> Jason Amundson
>
> P.S. Please respond either directly to me or to the cryolist discussion. I
> will summarize the responses in a subsequent e-mail.
> _______________________________________________
> You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

Martin O'Leary
In reply to this post by P. Wadhams
I originally sent my response directly to Jason, but perhaps the list
more generally would be interested in what I found. I think I can beat
Peter's 1945 citation by thirty years - Knud Rasmussen's 1915 report
of the First Thule Expedition, (Medd. om Groenland, Bd 51):

[ We had now, moreover, realised that he could not have touched at
Cape Glacier itself, on account of the "sikussaq" (fragments of inland
ice packed on the fjord in the course of years) which was absolutely
impassable in the neighbourhood of Academy Glacier, owing to the
enormous number of interconnecting fissures. ]

Early authors seem to use "sikussak" and "sikussaq" fairly
interchangeably, although Rasmussen, as the son of the author of one
of the earliest Greenlandic dictionaries, may have known what he was
talking about.

The description given by Rasmussen definitely seems to match up with
the material which has been discussed in the context of buttressing
tidewater glaciers. However the location seems to match better with
what Peter describes in his book - very old sea ice which has been
added to by snowfall.

I'm intrigued by the suggestion in several places, including Peter's
book, that the word means "fjord ice like ocean ice" - this seems like
an awful lot of meaning to squeeze into one word, especially
considering that "siku" on its own means "ice" or "to freeze". I
haven't been able to find the word in any of several Greenlandic
dictionaries, although I have found several other derivative forms of
"siku", nor can I find any information about a "-ssak" or "-ssaq"
suffix. Does anyone know any more about where this supposed etymology
originates?

I enclose my original response to Jason below, which includes some
more details, including an earlier citation from Koch.

Martin



Hi Jason,

I've been looking into this issue a little as a (very parenthetical)
part of my PhD research. As best I can tell, the term was first used
in English by Knud Rasmussen in the report of the First Thule
Expedition in NW Greenland, 1912. An early description come from Lauge
Koch in the Geographical Review (1926):



Sikussak is an Eskimo name meaning "very old ice." It was first
used by Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen in the report of the
First Thule Expedition without any very clear definition. Later J. P.
Koch described the same form occurring in Frederick Hyde Fjord as
paleocrystic ice. After my journey in 1917, during which I had ample
opportunity of observing the sikussak in both winter and summer
phases, I assumed it to be a transition form between glacier ice and
sea ice. During my journey in 1921 and 1922, however, it proved that
everywhere there was a very sharp and easily perceptible line of
demarcation between the floating glacier ice and sikussak, and finally
there were gradual transitions between sikussak proper and the some-
what younger sea ice. This means that the sikussak was originally
sea ice that has become rougher and rougher in the course of successive
summers. After two to five years the ice has become quite fresh, and
its structure is increasingly granular until it cannot be distinguished
from glacier ice. The older the sikussak the rougher it is. Between
several frozen fresh-water lakes rise walls of granulated ice, the height
of which is about one meter. In the depressions in their surfaces
snow accumulates in winter. In the summer the snow melts, but
there is no outlet for the water from the lakes; and thus the winter
snow, though through a melting process, enters as a component in
the surface of the ice. The maximum thickness of the ice is most
probably seven to eight meters.

Sikussak ice has only a limited geographical distribution. The
largest area occurs in the central part of the north coast where all
the fiords are filled with sikussak. Typical and very old sikussak is
found in Frederick Hyde Fjord, in Bessels Fjord, and just north of
the Humboldt Glacier. This ice is formed only in calm fiords. It helps
to prevent the calving of icebergs from the glaciers and is the reason
why they float on the sea. It is often difficult to distinguish floating
sea ice from the sikussak. To be called sikussak the ice must be at
least 25 years old.



You'll note the spelling "sikussak", which isn't one you mentioned,
although I don't believe that the standard orthography was something
that Rasmussen was particularly bothered about - although he was a
speaker of Greenlandic from an early age. Nevertheless, geminate
consonants (represented in the standard orthography by doubling, e.g.
"ss", "kk") are, as I understand it, quite significant in the Inuit
languages - this may have something to do with the reason that you
haven't been able to find anything relevant. It's also quite possible
that the language from which the word is originally derived is not
what we now call Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) - Inuktun, Inuttut and
other Inuit languages are possibilities.

In my own work, after much vacillation, I've taken to using the term
ice melange to denote any material composed of a heterogeneous mixture
of ice types, while using sikussak to specifically refer to the
mixture of sea ice and glacier ice which forms at the calving face of
tidewater glaciers - which seems to correspond with both the earlier
usage, and contemporary authors.

With regard to your reasons for using the term "ice melange", I can't
fault you, except to say that I'm pretty sure that sikussak has
historical precedence, going back nearly a hundred years. I'd probably
agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do. On
the other hand, I've heard things like the mess produced by the
breakup of ice shelves described as melange, and I certainly wouldn't
advocate the use of sikussak here, although we may want a more
specific term than melange in this case as well.

Anyway, you've now inspired me to look more deeply into this issue,
particularly the origins and early usage of the term. I'll let you
know what I find.

Hope some of this is helpful,
Martin
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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

Stephen Ackley
Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak
Martin,  Thanks for an interesting discussion.  Concerning your
comment near the end, however, there may be some distinction in the
Antarctic case.  You said:
"I'd probably agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do."
 
Prior to that the description includes the extensive melting of surface snow
and refreezing that forms the rough surface of the Greenland sikussak. For most of the
Antarctic coastline however, surface melt of this type is not seen, leading
to continued snow accumulation and formation of ice shelves that are not
fed by inland ice, but are stationary.  It may be that most of the coastline
forms ice shelves in this way, with the exceptions of the major outflow
areas (Ross, Filchner Ronne, Amery, etc) so the genesis process is
somewhat different than the fjord structures in Greenland, in my opinion.
 
Steve Ackley
 
 


From: [hidden email] on behalf of Martin O'Leary
Sent: Fri 10/29/2010 8:54 AM
To: P. Wadhams
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak

I originally sent my response directly to Jason, but perhaps the list
more generally would be interested in what I found. I think I can beat
Peter's 1945 citation by thirty years - Knud Rasmussen's 1915 report
of the First Thule Expedition, (Medd. om Groenland, Bd 51):

[ We had now, moreover, realised that he could not have touched at
Cape Glacier itself, on account of the "sikussaq" (fragments of inland
ice packed on the fjord in the course of years) which was absolutely
impassable in the neighbourhood of Academy Glacier, owing to the
enormous number of interconnecting fissures. ]

Early authors seem to use "sikussak" and "sikussaq" fairly
interchangeably, although Rasmussen, as the son of the author of one
of the earliest Greenlandic dictionaries, may have known what he was
talking about.

The description given by Rasmussen definitely seems to match up with
the material which has been discussed in the context of buttressing
tidewater glaciers. However the location seems to match better with
what Peter describes in his book - very old sea ice which has been
added to by snowfall.

I'm intrigued by the suggestion in several places, including Peter's
book, that the word means "fjord ice like ocean ice" - this seems like
an awful lot of meaning to squeeze into one word, especially
considering that "siku" on its own means "ice" or "to freeze". I
haven't been able to find the word in any of several Greenlandic
dictionaries, although I have found several other derivative forms of
"siku", nor can I find any information about a "-ssak" or "-ssaq"
suffix. Does anyone know any more about where this supposed etymology
originates?

I enclose my original response to Jason below, which includes some
more details, including an earlier citation from Koch.

Martin



Hi Jason,

I've been looking into this issue a little as a (very parenthetical)
part of my PhD research. As best I can tell, the term was first used
in English by Knud Rasmussen in the report of the First Thule
Expedition in NW Greenland, 1912. An early description come from Lauge
Koch in the Geographical Review (1926):



Sikussak is an Eskimo name meaning "very old ice." It was first
used by Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen in the report of the
First Thule Expedition without any very clear definition. Later J. P.
Koch described the same form occurring in Frederick Hyde Fjord as
paleocrystic ice. After my journey in 1917, during which I had ample
opportunity of observing the sikussak in both winter and summer
phases, I assumed it to be a transition form between glacier ice and
sea ice. During my journey in 1921 and 1922, however, it proved that
everywhere there was a very sharp and easily perceptible line of
demarcation between the floating glacier ice and sikussak, and finally
there were gradual transitions between sikussak proper and the some-
what younger sea ice. This means that the sikussak was originally
sea ice that has become rougher and rougher in the course of successive
summers. After two to five years the ice has become quite fresh, and
its structure is increasingly granular until it cannot be distinguished
from glacier ice. The older the sikussak the rougher it is. Between
several frozen fresh-water lakes rise walls of granulated ice, the height
of which is about one meter. In the depressions in their surfaces
snow accumulates in winter. In the summer the snow melts, but
there is no outlet for the water from the lakes; and thus the winter
snow, though through a melting process, enters as a component in
the surface of the ice. The maximum thickness of the ice is most
probably seven to eight meters.

Sikussak ice has only a limited geographical distribution. The
largest area occurs in the central part of the north coast where all
the fiords are filled with sikussak. Typical and very old sikussak is
found in Frederick Hyde Fjord, in Bessels Fjord, and just north of
the Humboldt Glacier. This ice is formed only in calm fiords. It helps
to prevent the calving of icebergs from the glaciers and is the reason
why they float on the sea. It is often difficult to distinguish floating
sea ice from the sikussak. To be called sikussak the ice must be at
least 25 years old.



You'll note the spelling "sikussak", which isn't one you mentioned,
although I don't believe that the standard orthography was something
that Rasmussen was particularly bothered about - although he was a
speaker of Greenlandic from an early age. Nevertheless, geminate
consonants (represented in the standard orthography by doubling, e.g.
"ss", "kk") are, as I understand it, quite significant in the Inuit
languages - this may have something to do with the reason that you
haven't been able to find anything relevant. It's also quite possible
that the language from which the word is originally derived is not
what we now call Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) - Inuktun, Inuttut and
other Inuit languages are possibilities.

In my own work, after much vacillation, I've taken to using the term
ice melange to denote any material composed of a heterogeneous mixture
of ice types, while using sikussak to specifically refer to the
mixture of sea ice and glacier ice which forms at the calving face of
tidewater glaciers - which seems to correspond with both the earlier
usage, and contemporary authors.

With regard to your reasons for using the term "ice melange", I can't
fault you, except to say that I'm pretty sure that sikussak has
historical precedence, going back nearly a hundred years. I'd probably
agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do. On
the other hand, I've heard things like the mess produced by the
breakup of ice shelves described as melange, and I certainly wouldn't
advocate the use of sikussak here, although we may want a more
specific term than melange in this case as well.

Anyway, you've now inspired me to look more deeply into this issue,
particularly the origins and early usage of the term. I'll let you
know what I find.

Hope some of this is helpful,
Martin
_______________________________________________
You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]


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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

Ted Scambos-2

Hi Steve, everyone -
The areas of greatest similarity to Greenland are in the fjords and
small ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula, where things can get
pretty, well, sikussaqy. Sikussaqious. Sikussaqish? Um, sikussaq-like.

Ted


On Sat, 30 Oct 2010, Stephen Ackley wrote:

> Martin,  Thanks for an interesting discussion.  Concerning your
> comment near the end, however, there may be some distinction in the
> Antarctic case.  You said:
> "I'd probably agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
> context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
> shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do."
>
> Prior to that the description includes the extensive melting of surface snow
> and refreezing that forms the rough surface of the Greenland sikussak. For most of the
> Antarctic coastline however, surface melt of this type is not seen, leading
> to continued snow accumulation and formation of ice shelves that are not
> fed by inland ice, but are stationary.  It may be that most of the coastline
> forms ice shelves in this way, with the exceptions of the major outflow
> areas (Ross, Filchner Ronne, Amery, etc) so the genesis process is
> somewhat different than the fjord structures in Greenland, in my opinion.
>
> Steve Ackley
>
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: [hidden email] on behalf of Martin O'Leary
> Sent: Fri 10/29/2010 8:54 AM
> To: P. Wadhams
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak
>
>
>
> I originally sent my response directly to Jason, but perhaps the list
> more generally would be interested in what I found. I think I can beat
> Peter's 1945 citation by thirty years - Knud Rasmussen's 1915 report
> of the First Thule Expedition, (Medd. om Groenland, Bd 51):
>
> [ We had now, moreover, realised that he could not have touched at
> Cape Glacier itself, on account of the "sikussaq" (fragments of inland
> ice packed on the fjord in the course of years) which was absolutely
> impassable in the neighbourhood of Academy Glacier, owing to the
> enormous number of interconnecting fissures. ]
>
> Early authors seem to use "sikussak" and "sikussaq" fairly
> interchangeably, although Rasmussen, as the son of the author of one
> of the earliest Greenlandic dictionaries, may have known what he was
> talking about.
>
> The description given by Rasmussen definitely seems to match up with
> the material which has been discussed in the context of buttressing
> tidewater glaciers. However the location seems to match better with
> what Peter describes in his book - very old sea ice which has been
> added to by snowfall.
>
> I'm intrigued by the suggestion in several places, including Peter's
> book, that the word means "fjord ice like ocean ice" - this seems like
> an awful lot of meaning to squeeze into one word, especially
> considering that "siku" on its own means "ice" or "to freeze". I
> haven't been able to find the word in any of several Greenlandic
> dictionaries, although I have found several other derivative forms of
> "siku", nor can I find any information about a "-ssak" or "-ssaq"
> suffix. Does anyone know any more about where this supposed etymology
> originates?
>
> I enclose my original response to Jason below, which includes some
> more details, including an earlier citation from Koch.
>
> Martin
>
>
>
> Hi Jason,
>
> I've been looking into this issue a little as a (very parenthetical)
> part of my PhD research. As best I can tell, the term was first used
> in English by Knud Rasmussen in the report of the First Thule
> Expedition in NW Greenland, 1912. An early description come from Lauge
> Koch in the Geographical Review (1926):
>
>
>
> Sikussak is an Eskimo name meaning "very old ice." It was first
> used by Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen in the report of the
> First Thule Expedition without any very clear definition. Later J. P.
> Koch described the same form occurring in Frederick Hyde Fjord as
> paleocrystic ice. After my journey in 1917, during which I had ample
> opportunity of observing the sikussak in both winter and summer
> phases, I assumed it to be a transition form between glacier ice and
> sea ice. During my journey in 1921 and 1922, however, it proved that
> everywhere there was a very sharp and easily perceptible line of
> demarcation between the floating glacier ice and sikussak, and finally
> there were gradual transitions between sikussak proper and the some-
> what younger sea ice. This means that the sikussak was originally
> sea ice that has become rougher and rougher in the course of successive
> summers. After two to five years the ice has become quite fresh, and
> its structure is increasingly granular until it cannot be distinguished
> from glacier ice. The older the sikussak the rougher it is. Between
> several frozen fresh-water lakes rise walls of granulated ice, the height
> of which is about one meter. In the depressions in their surfaces
> snow accumulates in winter. In the summer the snow melts, but
> there is no outlet for the water from the lakes; and thus the winter
> snow, though through a melting process, enters as a component in
> the surface of the ice. The maximum thickness of the ice is most
> probably seven to eight meters.
>
> Sikussak ice has only a limited geographical distribution. The
> largest area occurs in the central part of the north coast where all
> the fiords are filled with sikussak. Typical and very old sikussak is
> found in Frederick Hyde Fjord, in Bessels Fjord, and just north of
> the Humboldt Glacier. This ice is formed only in calm fiords. It helps
> to prevent the calving of icebergs from the glaciers and is the reason
> why they float on the sea. It is often difficult to distinguish floating
> sea ice from the sikussak. To be called sikussak the ice must be at
> least 25 years old.
>
>
>
> You'll note the spelling "sikussak", which isn't one you mentioned,
> although I don't believe that the standard orthography was something
> that Rasmussen was particularly bothered about - although he was a
> speaker of Greenlandic from an early age. Nevertheless, geminate
> consonants (represented in the standard orthography by doubling, e.g.
> "ss", "kk") are, as I understand it, quite significant in the Inuit
> languages - this may have something to do with the reason that you
> haven't been able to find anything relevant. It's also quite possible
> that the language from which the word is originally derived is not
> what we now call Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) - Inuktun, Inuttut and
> other Inuit languages are possibilities.
>
> In my own work, after much vacillation, I've taken to using the term
> ice melange to denote any material composed of a heterogeneous mixture
> of ice types, while using sikussak to specifically refer to the
> mixture of sea ice and glacier ice which forms at the calving face of
> tidewater glaciers - which seems to correspond with both the earlier
> usage, and contemporary authors.
>
> With regard to your reasons for using the term "ice melange", I can't
> fault you, except to say that I'm pretty sure that sikussak has
> historical precedence, going back nearly a hundred years. I'd probably
> agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
> context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
> shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do. On
> the other hand, I've heard things like the mess produced by the
> breakup of ice shelves described as melange, and I certainly wouldn't
> advocate the use of sikussak here, although we may want a more
> specific term than melange in this case as well.
>
> Anyway, you've now inspired me to look more deeply into this issue,
> particularly the origins and early usage of the term. I'll let you
> know what I find.
>
> Hope some of this is helpful,
> Martin
> _______________________________________________
> You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
>
>
>
>
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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

Stephen Ackley
Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak
Hi Ted,
 
The banana belt (of the Antarctic) exception is duly noted.   Just
wanted to draw the distinction that "all coastline of Antarctica" may not
look like "all coastline of Greenland" .
 
Steve


From: Ted Scambos [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Sat 10/30/2010 7:18 PM
To: Stephen Ackley
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak


Hi Steve, everyone -
The areas of greatest similarity to Greenland are in the fjords and
small ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula, where things can get
pretty, well, sikussaqy. Sikussaqious. Sikussaqish? Um, sikussaq-like.

Ted


On Sat, 30 Oct 2010, Stephen Ackley wrote:


> Martin,  Thanks for an interesting discussion.  Concerning your
> comment near the end, however, there may be some distinction in the
> Antarctic case.  You said:
> "I'd probably agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
> context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
> shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do."
>
> Prior to that the description includes the extensive melting of surface snow
> and refreezing that forms the rough surface of the Greenland sikussak. For most of the
> Antarctic coastline however, surface melt of this type is not seen, leading
> to continued snow accumulation and formation of ice shelves that are not
> fed by inland ice, but are stationary.  It may be that most of the coastline
> forms ice shelves in this way, with the exceptions of the major outflow
> areas (Ross, Filchner Ronne, Amery, etc) so the genesis process is
> somewhat different than the fjord structures in Greenland, in my opinion.
>
> Steve Ackley
>
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: [hidden email] on behalf of Martin O'Leary
> Sent: Fri 10/29/2010 8:54 AM
> To: P. Wadhams
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak
>
>
>
> I originally sent my response directly to Jason, but perhaps the list
> more generally would be interested in what I found. I think I can beat
> Peter's 1945 citation by thirty years - Knud Rasmussen's 1915 report
> of the First Thule Expedition, (Medd. om Groenland, Bd 51):
>
> [ We had now, moreover, realised that he could not have touched at
> Cape Glacier itself, on account of the "sikussaq" (fragments of inland
> ice packed on the fjord in the course of years) which was absolutely
> impassable in the neighbourhood of Academy Glacier, owing to the
> enormous number of interconnecting fissures. ]
>
> Early authors seem to use "sikussak" and "sikussaq" fairly
> interchangeably, although Rasmussen, as the son of the author of one
> of the earliest Greenlandic dictionaries, may have known what he was
> talking about.
>
> The description given by Rasmussen definitely seems to match up with
> the material which has been discussed in the context of buttressing
> tidewater glaciers. However the location seems to match better with
> what Peter describes in his book - very old sea ice which has been
> added to by snowfall.
>
> I'm intrigued by the suggestion in several places, including Peter's
> book, that the word means "fjord ice like ocean ice" - this seems like
> an awful lot of meaning to squeeze into one word, especially
> considering that "siku" on its own means "ice" or "to freeze". I
> haven't been able to find the word in any of several Greenlandic
> dictionaries, although I have found several other derivative forms of
> "siku", nor can I find any information about a "-ssak" or "-ssaq"
> suffix. Does anyone know any more about where this supposed etymology
> originates?
>
> I enclose my original response to Jason below, which includes some
> more details, including an earlier citation from Koch.
>
> Martin
>
>
>
> Hi Jason,
>
> I've been looking into this issue a little as a (very parenthetical)
> part of my PhD research. As best I can tell, the term was first used
> in English by Knud Rasmussen in the report of the First Thule
> Expedition in NW Greenland, 1912. An early description come from Lauge
> Koch in the Geographical Review (1926):
>
>
>
> Sikussak is an Eskimo name meaning "very old ice." It was first
> used by Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen in the report of the
> First Thule Expedition without any very clear definition. Later J. P.
> Koch described the same form occurring in Frederick Hyde Fjord as
> paleocrystic ice. After my journey in 1917, during which I had ample
> opportunity of observing the sikussak in both winter and summer
> phases, I assumed it to be a transition form between glacier ice and
> sea ice. During my journey in 1921 and 1922, however, it proved that
> everywhere there was a very sharp and easily perceptible line of
> demarcation between the floating glacier ice and sikussak, and finally
> there were gradual transitions between sikussak proper and the some-
> what younger sea ice. This means that the sikussak was originally
> sea ice that has become rougher and rougher in the course of successive
> summers. After two to five years the ice has become quite fresh, and
> its structure is increasingly granular until it cannot be distinguished
> from glacier ice. The older the sikussak the rougher it is. Between
> several frozen fresh-water lakes rise walls of granulated ice, the height
> of which is about one meter. In the depressions in their surfaces
> snow accumulates in winter. In the summer the snow melts, but
> there is no outlet for the water from the lakes; and thus the winter
> snow, though through a melting process, enters as a component in
> the surface of the ice. The maximum thickness of the ice is most
> probably seven to eight meters.
>
> Sikussak ice has only a limited geographical distribution. The
> largest area occurs in the central part of the north coast where all
> the fiords are filled with sikussak. Typical and very old sikussak is
> found in Frederick Hyde Fjord, in Bessels Fjord, and just north of
> the Humboldt Glacier. This ice is formed only in calm fiords. It helps
> to prevent the calving of icebergs from the glaciers and is the reason
> why they float on the sea. It is often difficult to distinguish floating
> sea ice from the sikussak. To be called sikussak the ice must be at
> least 25 years old.
>
>
>
> You'll note the spelling "sikussak", which isn't one you mentioned,
> although I don't believe that the standard orthography was something
> that Rasmussen was particularly bothered about - although he was a
> speaker of Greenlandic from an early age. Nevertheless, geminate
> consonants (represented in the standard orthography by doubling, e.g.
> "ss", "kk") are, as I understand it, quite significant in the Inuit
> languages - this may have something to do with the reason that you
> haven't been able to find anything relevant. It's also quite possible
> that the language from which the word is originally derived is not
> what we now call Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) - Inuktun, Inuttut and
> other Inuit languages are possibilities.
>
> In my own work, after much vacillation, I've taken to using the term
> ice melange to denote any material composed of a heterogeneous mixture
> of ice types, while using sikussak to specifically refer to the
> mixture of sea ice and glacier ice which forms at the calving face of
> tidewater glaciers - which seems to correspond with both the earlier
> usage, and contemporary authors.
>
> With regard to your reasons for using the term "ice melange", I can't
> fault you, except to say that I'm pretty sure that sikussak has
> historical precedence, going back nearly a hundred years. I'd probably
> agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
> context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
> shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do. On
> the other hand, I've heard things like the mess produced by the
> breakup of ice shelves described as melange, and I certainly wouldn't
> advocate the use of sikussak here, although we may want a more
> specific term than melange in this case as well.
>
> Anyway, you've now inspired me to look more deeply into this issue,
> particularly the origins and early usage of the term. I'll let you
> know what I find.
>
> Hope some of this is helpful,
> Martin
> _______________________________________________
> You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
>
>
>
>


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Re: ice melange or sikkusak

Ronald Weaver
A 'lurker' comment.

I have little personal experience to add to this and other recent cryolist discussions, but I do want to say that I have learned a great deal from reading them.  Thanks cryolist members for using this board  in such a thoughtful and informative way.

Ron Weaver


On Oct 31, 2010, at 8:46 AM, Stephen Ackley wrote:

Hi Ted,
 
The banana belt (of the Antarctic) exception is duly noted.   Just
wanted to draw the distinction that "all coastline of Antarctica" may not
look like "all coastline of Greenland" .
 
Steve


From: Ted Scambos [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Sat 10/30/2010 7:18 PM
To: Stephen Ackley
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak


Hi Steve, everyone -
The areas of greatest similarity to Greenland are in the fjords and
small ice shelves of the Antarctic Peninsula, where things can get
pretty, well, sikussaqy. Sikussaqious. Sikussaqish? Um, sikussaq-like.

Ted


On Sat, 30 Oct 2010, Stephen Ackley wrote:


> Martin,  Thanks for an interesting discussion.  Concerning your
> comment near the end, however, there may be some distinction in the
> Antarctic case.  You said:
> "I'd probably agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
> context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
> shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do."
>
> Prior to that the description includes the extensive melting of surface snow
> and refreezing that forms the rough surface of the Greenland sikussak. For most of the
> Antarctic coastline however, surface melt of this type is not seen, leading
> to continued snow accumulation and formation of ice shelves that are not
> fed by inland ice, but are stationary.  It may be that most of the coastline
> forms ice shelves in this way, with the exceptions of the major outflow
> areas (Ross, Filchner Ronne, Amery, etc) so the genesis process is
> somewhat different than the fjord structures in Greenland, in my opinion.
>
> Steve Ackley
>
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: [hidden email] on behalf of Martin O'Leary
> Sent: Fri 10/29/2010 8:54 AM
> To: P. Wadhams
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [CRYOLIST] ice melange or sikkusak
>
>
>
> I originally sent my response directly to Jason, but perhaps the list
> more generally would be interested in what I found. I think I can beat
> Peter's 1945 citation by thirty years - Knud Rasmussen's 1915 report
> of the First Thule Expedition, (Medd. om Groenland, Bd 51):
>
> [ We had now, moreover, realised that he could not have touched at
> Cape Glacier itself, on account of the "sikussaq" (fragments of inland
> ice packed on the fjord in the course of years) which was absolutely
> impassable in the neighbourhood of Academy Glacier, owing to the
> enormous number of interconnecting fissures. ]
>
> Early authors seem to use "sikussak" and "sikussaq" fairly
> interchangeably, although Rasmussen, as the son of the author of one
> of the earliest Greenlandic dictionaries, may have known what he was
> talking about.
>
> The description given by Rasmussen definitely seems to match up with
> the material which has been discussed in the context of buttressing
> tidewater glaciers. However the location seems to match better with
> what Peter describes in his book - very old sea ice which has been
> added to by snowfall.
>
> I'm intrigued by the suggestion in several places, including Peter's
> book, that the word means "fjord ice like ocean ice" - this seems like
> an awful lot of meaning to squeeze into one word, especially
> considering that "siku" on its own means "ice" or "to freeze". I
> haven't been able to find the word in any of several Greenlandic
> dictionaries, although I have found several other derivative forms of
> "siku", nor can I find any information about a "-ssak" or "-ssaq"
> suffix. Does anyone know any more about where this supposed etymology
> originates?
>
> I enclose my original response to Jason below, which includes some
> more details, including an earlier citation from Koch.
>
> Martin
>
>
>
> Hi Jason,
>
> I've been looking into this issue a little as a (very parenthetical)
> part of my PhD research. As best I can tell, the term was first used
> in English by Knud Rasmussen in the report of the First Thule
> Expedition in NW Greenland, 1912. An early description come from Lauge
> Koch in the Geographical Review (1926):
>
>
>
> Sikussak is an Eskimo name meaning "very old ice." It was first
> used by Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen in the report of the
> First Thule Expedition without any very clear definition. Later J. P.
> Koch described the same form occurring in Frederick Hyde Fjord as
> paleocrystic ice. After my journey in 1917, during which I had ample
> opportunity of observing the sikussak in both winter and summer
> phases, I assumed it to be a transition form between glacier ice and
> sea ice. During my journey in 1921 and 1922, however, it proved that
> everywhere there was a very sharp and easily perceptible line of
> demarcation between the floating glacier ice and sikussak, and finally
> there were gradual transitions between sikussak proper and the some-
> what younger sea ice. This means that the sikussak was originally
> sea ice that has become rougher and rougher in the course of successive
> summers. After two to five years the ice has become quite fresh, and
> its structure is increasingly granular until it cannot be distinguished
> from glacier ice. The older the sikussak the rougher it is. Between
> several frozen fresh-water lakes rise walls of granulated ice, the height
> of which is about one meter. In the depressions in their surfaces
> snow accumulates in winter. In the summer the snow melts, but
> there is no outlet for the water from the lakes; and thus the winter
> snow, though through a melting process, enters as a component in
> the surface of the ice. The maximum thickness of the ice is most
> probably seven to eight meters.
>
> Sikussak ice has only a limited geographical distribution. The
> largest area occurs in the central part of the north coast where all
> the fiords are filled with sikussak. Typical and very old sikussak is
> found in Frederick Hyde Fjord, in Bessels Fjord, and just north of
> the Humboldt Glacier. This ice is formed only in calm fiords. It helps
> to prevent the calving of icebergs from the glaciers and is the reason
> why they float on the sea. It is often difficult to distinguish floating
> sea ice from the sikussak. To be called sikussak the ice must be at
> least 25 years old.
>
>
>
> You'll note the spelling "sikussak", which isn't one you mentioned,
> although I don't believe that the standard orthography was something
> that Rasmussen was particularly bothered about - although he was a
> speaker of Greenlandic from an early age. Nevertheless, geminate
> consonants (represented in the standard orthography by doubling, e.g.
> "ss", "kk") are, as I understand it, quite significant in the Inuit
> languages - this may have something to do with the reason that you
> haven't been able to find anything relevant. It's also quite possible
> that the language from which the word is originally derived is not
> what we now call Greenlandic (Kalaallisut) - Inuktun, Inuttut and
> other Inuit languages are possibilities.
>
> In my own work, after much vacillation, I've taken to using the term
> ice melange to denote any material composed of a heterogeneous mixture
> of ice types, while using sikussak to specifically refer to the
> mixture of sea ice and glacier ice which forms at the calving face of
> tidewater glaciers - which seems to correspond with both the earlier
> usage, and contemporary authors.
>
> With regard to your reasons for using the term "ice melange", I can't
> fault you, except to say that I'm pretty sure that sikussak has
> historical precedence, going back nearly a hundred years. I'd probably
> agree that the term may not be strictly applicable in an Antarctic
> context, although I can't see why Antarctic tidewater glaciers
> shouldn't produce the same material that Greenlandic glaciers do. On
> the other hand, I've heard things like the mess produced by the
> breakup of ice shelves described as melange, and I certainly wouldn't
> advocate the use of sikussak here, although we may want a more
> specific term than melange in this case as well.
>
> Anyway, you've now inspired me to look more deeply into this issue,
> particularly the origins and early usage of the term. I'll let you
> know what I find.
>
> Hope some of this is helpful,
> Martin
> _______________________________________________
> You're subscribed to the CRYOLIST mailing list
> To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
> To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]
>
>
>
>

_______________________________________________
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To change your subscription options, visit http://cryolist.org/
To send a message to the list, email [hidden email]

_____________________________________________________
Ron Weaver    DAAC Manager    National Snow and Ice Data Center
Campus Box 449, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, 80309
(Voice)303-492-7624 (cell-googlevoice) 303-834-7607
(Fax)303-492-2468  (email)weaverr(at)nsidc.org
_____________________________________________________


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Re: ice mélange or sikkusak

Jason Amundson
In reply to this post by Stephen Ackley
Thank you for all of the detailed and insightful comments on ice
mélanges and sikkussaq. I was delighted to learn that some people have
put much more thought into this than I had! I'll attempt to summarize
the responses that I received, both on cryolist and via personal e-mail,
and then I suggest that we bring this cryolist discussion to a close.

 From the early reports from Knud Rasmussen, Peter Freuchen, and J.P.
Koch, it sounds as though sikkussaq is essentially old landfast sea ice
that has a rough surface, may contain icebergs, and does not exceed 10 m
in thickness. In some cases, it may be difficult to distinguish
sikkussaq from a dense pack of icebergs. Therefore sikkussaq does not
appear to be an appropriate word for the ice packs in "southern"
Greenland, where sea ice does not persist year round. These packs of
icebergs can also be 10s of meters to a few hundred meters thick.

There has been some discussion as to whether or not the term "ice
mélange" can be used to describe these dense packs of icebergs. For one,
it was pointed out to me that mélange is a French word and that I'm not
a French speaker... Since I didn't receive any angry e-mails from French
speakers, I'll assume that its okay to use mélange in that context. A
second issue is that ice mélange is also used to describe, for example,
the mixture of sea ice, snow, and icebergs that fills in rifts and helps
to glue them together. I think that ambiguity is okay, so long as ice
mélange is taken to mean a mixture of various types of ice with
unspecified scale or ratio. (In this case, sikkussaq may be a type of
ice mélange.) It may be that more specific definitions are
desired/needed. However, I suggest that we leave further discussion of
this for another day, as I suspect that it will be difficult to reach a
consensus.

Cheers,
Jason
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