(Glacier Terminology)

A mountain peak sticking up out of an ice cap, icefield, or ice sheet, resembling a rocky island in a sea of ice (Cf. Inselberg). The name comes from the Inuit language.

Nunataks can be found in most ice caps and ice sheets: Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland. During various Ice Ages in the past, the peaks of many present mountains were nunataks, providing refuge for a few lifeforms. Obviously, conditions in these refuges were quite harsh, and probably drove spurts in these organisms' evolution (Punctuated equilibrium).

Nu"na*tak (?), n.; pl. - taks (#) (the pl. form Nunatakker is Swedish). [Eskimo nunættak.]

In Greenland, an insular hill or mountain surrounded by an ice sheet.


© Webster 1913

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