Reference Terms
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Ice sheet

An Ice sheet is a mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 square kilometers (19,305 square miles).

The only current ice sheets are Antarctic and Greenland; during the last ice age at Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) the Laurentide ice sheet covered much of Canada and North America, the Weichselian ice sheet covered northern Europe and the Patagonian Ice Sheet covered southern South America.

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest single mass of ice on Earth.

The Greenland ice sheet occupies about 82% of the surface of Greenland, and if melted would cause sea levels to rise by 7.2 metres.

Estimated changes in the mass of Greenland's ice sheet suggest it is melting at a rate of about 239 cubic kilometres (57.3 cubic miles) per year.

Ice sheets are bigger than ice shelves or glaciers.

Masses of ice covering less than 50,000 square kilometers are termed an ice cap.

An ice cap will typically feed a series of glaciers around its periphery.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Ice sheet", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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July 3, 2015

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