Ice sheet

  • ice sheet
  • permanent layer of ice covering an extensive tract of land
Abstract from DBPedia
    In glaciology, an ice sheet, also known as a continental glacier, is a mass of glacial ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 km2 (19,000 sq mi). The only current ice sheets are in Antarctica and Greenland; during the Last Glacial Period at Last Glacial Maximum, the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered much of North America, the Weichselian ice sheet covered Northern Europe and the Patagonian Ice Sheet covered southern South America. Ice sheets are bigger than ice shelves or alpine glaciers. Masses of ice covering less than 50,000 km2 are termed an ice cap. An ice cap will typically feed a series of glaciers around its periphery. Although the surface is cold, the base of an ice sheet is generally warmer due to geothermal heat. In places, melting occurs and the melt-water lubricates the ice sheet so that it flows more rapidly. This process produces fast-flowing channels in the ice sheet — these are ice streams. The present-day polar ice sheets are relatively young in geological terms. The Antarctic Ice Sheet first formed as a small ice cap (maybe several) in the early Oligocene, 33.9-23.0 Ma, but retreated and advanced many times until the Pliocene, 5.33-2.58Ma, when it came to occupy almost all of Antarctica. The Greenland ice sheet did not develop at all until the late Pliocene, but apparently developed very rapidly with the first continental glaciation. This had the unusual effect of allowing fossils of plants that once grew on present-day Greenland to be much better preserved than with the slowly forming Antarctic ice sheet.

    氷床(ひょうしょう、英語: ice sheet)は、地球型惑星など地表面がある天体の、地表部を覆う総面積5万平方キロメートル以上の氷塊(地球の場合は氷河)の集合体である。氷床は氷棚や(狭義の)氷河より大きな規模のものを指す。対して、5万平方キロメートル以下の氷塊は氷帽と呼ばれ、周囲の氷河を涵養している。 なお、太陽系内の地球型惑星で氷床が存在するのは地球と火星のみである。太陽系外の地球型惑星ではまだ確認されていないが、存在しないということは考えられない。以下、本項では地球の氷床と火星の氷床に分けて解説する。