Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
227
ICEBERG—ICELAND

of high latitude it exists on a gigantic scale, being especially characteristic of the seas and lands around the poles. In various regions, especially in France and Italy, great quantities of ice form in caves, which, in virtue of their depth below the earth’s surface, their height above the sea-level, or their exposure to suitable winds, or to two or more of these conditions in combination, are unaffected by ordinary climatic changes, so that the mean annual temperature is sufficiently low to ensure the permanency of the ice. The temperature at which water freezes, and also at which ice melts, is so readily determined that it is employed as one of the standard temperatures in the graduation of ordinary thermometer scales, this temperature being the zero of the Centigrade and Réaumur scales, and 32° of the Fahrenheit (see Thermometry). In the act of freezing, water, though its temperature remains unchanged, undergoes a remarkable expansion so that ice at 0° C. is less dense than water—a fact demonstrated by its power of floating. The sub-aqueous retention of “ground-ice” or “anchor-ice,” which forms in certain circumstances at the bottom of streams or pools in which there are many eddies, is due to the cohesion between it and the stones or rocks which compose the bed of the streams or pools. As water expands on freezing, so conversely ice contracts on melting; and the ice-cold water thus formed continues to contract when heated until it has reached its point of maximum density, the temperature at which this occurs being about 39° Fahr, or 4° C. Above this point water continuously expands, and at no temperature is it less dense than ice as is shown by the following table:—

Density of  ice at 0°C.  =  .9175  
 water at  0°C. = .99988
4°C. = 1.00000
10°C. = .99976
100°C. = .95866

Under the influence of heat, ice itself behaves as most solids do, contracting when cooled, expanding when heated. According to Plücker, the coefficient of cubical dilatation at moderately low temperatures is 0.0001585. From a series of elaborate experiments, Person deduced 0.505 as the specific heat of ice, or about half that of water.

Though no rise of temperature accompanies the melting of ice, there is yet a definite quantity of heat absorbed, namely, about 80 calories per gram; this is called the latent heat of fusion of water (see Fusion). The same amount of heat is evolved when water becomes ice. That ice can be melted by increase of pressure was first pointed out by James Thomson in 1849. He showed that, since water expands on freezing, the laws of thermodynamics require that its freezing-point must be lowered by increase of pressure; and he calculated that for every additional atmosphere of pressure the freezing-point of water was lowered by 0.0075°. This result was verified by his brother, Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), in 1850. The Thomsons and H. L. F. Helmholtz successfully applied this behaviour of ice under pressure to the explanation of many properties of the substance. When two blocks of ice at 0° C. are pressed together or even simply laid in contact, they gradually unite along their touching surfaces till they form one block. This “regelation” is due to the increased pressure at the various points of contact causing the ice there to melt and cool. The water so formed tends to escape, thus relieving the pressure for an instant, refreezing and returning to the original temperature. This succession of melting and freezing, with their accompanying thermal effects, goes on until the two blocks are cemented into one.

Ice forms over fresh water if the temperature of the air has been for a sufficient time at or below the freezing-point; but not until the whole mass of water has been cooled down to its point of maximum density, so that the subsequent cooling of the surface can give rise to no convection currents, is freezing possible. Sea-water, in the most favourable circumstances, does not freeze till its temperature is reduced to about −2° C.; and the ice, when formed, is found to have rejected four-fifths of the salt which was originally present. In the upper provinces of India water is made to freeze during cold clear nights by leaving it overnight in porous vessels, or in bottles which are enwrapped in moistened cloth. The water then freezes in virtue of the cold produced by its own evaporation or by the drying of the moistened wrapper. In Bengal the natives resort to a still more elaborate forcing of the conditions. Pits are dug about 2 ft. deep and filled three-quarters full with dry straw, on which are set flat porous pans containing the water to be frozen. Exposed overnight to a cool dry gentle wind from the north-west, the water evaporates at the expense of its own heat, and the consequent cooling takes place with sufficient rapidity to overbalance the slow influx of heat from above through the cooled dense air or from below through the badly conducting straw.

See Water, and for the manufacture of ice see Refrigerating.

ICEBERG (from ice and Berg, Ger. for hill, mountain), a floating mass of ice broken from the end of a glacier or from an ice-sheet. The word is sometimes, but rarely, applied to the arch of an Arctic glacier viewed from the sea. It is more commonly used to describe huge floating masses of ice that drift from polar regions into navigable waters. They are occasionally encountered far beyond the polar regions, rising into beautiful forms with breakers roaring into their caves and streams of water pouring from their pinnacles in the warmer air. When, however, they rest in comparatively warm water, melting takes place most rapidly at the base and they frequently overturn. Only one-ninth of the mass of ice is seen above water. When a glacier descends to the sea, as in Alaska, and “advances into water, the depth of which approaches its thickness, the ends are broken off and the detached masses float away as icebergs. Many of the bergs are overturned, or at least tilted, as they set sail. If this does not happen at once it is likely to occur later as the result of the wave-cutting and melting which disturb their equilibrium” (T. C. Chamberlin and R. D. Salisbury, Geology: Processes and their Results, 1905). These bergs carry a load of débris from the glacier and gradually strew their load upon the sea floor. They do not travel far before losing all stony and earthy débris, but glacial material found in dredgings shows that icebergs occasionally carry their load far from land. The structure of the iceberg varies with its origin and is always that of the glacier or ice-sheet from which it was broken. The breaking off of the ice-sheet from a Greenland glacier is called locally the “calving” of the glacier. The constantly renewed material from which the icebergs are formed is brought down by the motion of the glacier. The ice-sheet cracks at the end, and masses break off, owing to the upward pressure of the water upon the lighter ice which is pushed into it. This is accomplished with considerable violence. The disintegration of an Arctic ice-sheet is a simpler matter, as the ice is already floating.

ICELAND (Dan. Island), an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, belonging to Denmark. Its extreme northerly point is touched by the Arctic Circle; it lies between 13° 22′ and 24° 35′ W., and between 63° 12′ and 66° 33′ N., and has an area of 40,437 sq. m. Its length is 298 m. and its breadth 194 m., the shape being a rough oval, broken at the north-west, where a peninsula, diversified by a great number of fjords, projects from the main portion of the island. The total length of the coast-line is about 3730 m., of which approximately one-third belongs to the north-western peninsula. Iceland is a plateau or tableland, built up of volcanic rocks of older and younger formation, and pierced on all sides by fjords and valleys. Compared with the tableland, the lowlands have a relatively small area, namely, one-fourteenth of the whole; but these lowlands are almost the only parts of the island which are inhabited. In consequence of the rigour of its climate, the central tableland is absolutely uninhabitable. At the outside, not more than one-fourth of the area of Iceland is inhabited; the rest consists of elevated deserts, lava streams and glaciers. The north-west peninsula is separated from the main mass of the island by the bays Hunaflói and Breiðifjörðr, so that there are really two tablelands, a larger and a smaller. The isthmus which connects the two is only 4¼ m. across, but has an altitude of 748 ft. The