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Ice shelf

An ice shelf is a type of glacier that does not form in the mountains, but composes a part of the ice sheet margin and descends into the sea. Its part floats on the sea surface, and the base is immersed inwater. The form resembles a table, ending with an ice cliff (glacier terminus).

Shelf glaciers are very dynamic — under the influences of warm sea water and melt water from the ice sheet, the frontal zone is calving, sometimes creating huge icebergs.

The largest ice shelves are located in Antarctica — for example, the Ross Ice Shelf in the Ross Sea. In the year 2000 the biggest recorded iceberg, called the B-15, with an area of 11 000 km2 calved from it.

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