Moooo! My Calf is missing!

I’m bogged down understanding ice-cap physics and ‘geology’ and Greenland is the present focus of work. I’ve always wondered at what rate snow is deposited on the Greenland ice cap and how snow deposited at the peak of the icecap affects ice removal at the ice cap’s periphery. So I did the usual internet search, choosing my search terms carefully, and came across a CBS News report of 24 August, 2015 headlined – “Greenland Glacier Loses Chunk the size of Manhattan”.

(Image copied from CBS report)

This is a satellite image of the Jacobshavn Glacier in western Greenland showing the calving front at the right of the image.

“The glacier keeps retreating rapidly into a deep canyon…. We are likely to see more of those calving events in the coming years as the glacier retreats into deeper ice.”

A glacier calves as the result of an enormous ice flow pushing ice into the sea. As the leading ice tongue goes further out to sea it becomes physically stressed by sea tidal forces and breaks off forming an iceberg.

The glacier is by no means retreating into deeper ice, but is actually being advanced by the enormous pressure of the growing ice cap behind it.

Glaciers retreat by melting that is the direct opposite of calving, which is evidence of advancing ice.

This is another example of the logical fallacy of arguing the consequent, the topic of logic, something which is apparently no longer taught in universities.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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