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Ilulissat, Greenland

Karl-Ole Kristensen holds up two different types of glacier ice

Karl-Ole Kristensen grew up in a house that overlooked this bay and the masses of icebergs from the glacier next door: Jakobshavn Glacier.

Here, aboard the Esle in Ilulissat, Greenland, Karl-Ole holds white ice in his right hand and black ice in his left. “Black ice is like crystal, like a window,” he says. Black ice forms when water within the glacier refreezes. It might be 100,000 years old, but it’s like a stone. Karl-Ole searched for a piece to show us and hauled it aboard with a fishing net. “If you hit black ice with a small boat, you destroy the boat. Three people died here this summer from that. White ice is 20% air. If you hit it, it will just blow up.”

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