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Ilulissat Icefjord – Timelapse Film from Greenland

Experience a beautiful timelapse trip to the Ilulissat Icefjord. This timelapse film project is made by photographer Bo Normander and timelapse expert Casper Rolsted.

The film was in October 2019 chosen as one of the best films on Vimeo and received the honorful Staff Pick badge.

Ilulissat Icefjord is a natural site of outstanding beauty created by inland ice and gigantic icebergs from the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier at the head of the fjord. In 2004, Ilulissat Icefjord was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, hence achieving the highest international recognition for nature of irreplaceable value.

Ilulissat Icefjord is 4 to 6 km wide and 70 km long. It is shaped like an elongated trough formed by drifting glacial ice that has cut deep into the bedrock for millennia like a river of gravel, stone, and ice. The fjord is over a thousand metres deep but at the mouth of the fjord, where it meets Disko Bay at Sermermiut south of Ilulissat, the largest icebergs run aground on the Iceberg Bank as the fjord here is only 200 to 300 metres deep. The banks were made up in pre-historic times by glacial deposits of stone and eroded material. It is an amazing view from Sermermiut overlooking the stranded icebergs – the largest of which can extend up to 100 metres above sea level.

Over the past decade, the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier has doubled its speed so that today it moves at about 40 metres per day. That makes it one of the world’s fastest glaciers. It calves an impressive 40 to 50 cubic kilometres of ice a year, equivalent to one tenth of the total production of icebergs from the Greenland ice sheet. If this amount of ice was melted it would provide enough water to cover all of the United States’ annual water consumption.

The largest icebergs from Sermeq Kujalleq are up to 1.5 cubic kilometres with a height of up to 120 m above sea level. However, the majority of an iceberg, over 80% of its mass, is located below sea level.

The Sermeq Kujalleq glacier contributes to a rich marine environment in several ways. The melt-water from the glacier ice contains varying quantities of nutrients and the icebergs create turbulence in the water column when they melt or turn around. This brings relatively warm and nutrient-rich water from deeper layers to the surface. Along with the tide, which is up to three metres between high tide and low tide, these conditions create a dynamic environment that enhances planktonic growth, which in turn attracts fish and sea mammals. The Icefjord is particularly known for its fine stocks of halibut. The icebergs also make large parts of the fjord unreachable and therefore wildlife is relatively well protected from hunting and fishing.

Read more about Ilulissat and the world-famous glacier and Icefjord in the photo book, Greenlandic Seasons.