It’s 1974, and Per Dagsgard has just made the arduous climb through Norway’s Jotunheim Mountains to reach the Lendbreen ice patch. Searching for clues of lost civilizations, the student has nothing more in his mind than the potential discovery of centuries-old hunting gear. But what the Norwegian actually finds is far more impressive.
Although Lendbreen – where Dagsgard was exploring – is home to an ice patch, glaciers are perhaps better known in the world of frosty formations. Glaciers begin life as massive snow deposits, which gradually compress and harden into ice over time. And yet what makes them even more impressive is that they’re capable of moving – albeit incredibly slowly – as their weights allow them to shift much like gradually flowing streams.
By contrast, ice patches cannot change positions. Instead, they form in sheltered areas when deposits of snow freeze together and coalesce into dense blocks of ice, which can become as thick as 65 feet. And if the weather remains cold enough, these giant patches will continue to grow and, eventually, mature into glaciers.