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Are glacier ice and refrigerator ice different?

Yes and No – Theoretically speaking, the physical, chemical, thermal, and electrical properties of “refrigerator ice” and glacier ice are identical: viscosity, heat of fusion, latent heat, heat capacity, dielectric constant, thermal conductivity, absorption, emissivity, etc., are the same. However, in reality, temperature, crystal size, and even density may be different.  For example, the temperature of South Pole glacier ice is about -500F, while the temperature of refrigerator ice may range from just below 320F to just above 00F. Glacier ice forms under great pressure, sometimes exceeding several hundred atmospheres. Therefore, for any given volume of ice, glacier ice will have larger crystals and much less air within crystals, resulting in a higher density. Consequently, glacier ice lasts longer in drinks. Crystals melt from the outside and large crystals expose less surface area per unit volume of ice. Therefore, ice with larger crystals and fewer air bubbles melts more slowly.

 

High pressure laboratory forms of ice with different properties have been produced in laboratory experiments. None, however, occur naturally on Earth, not even at the base of the Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets.

 

Learn more: Ice Puzzle

Tags: Global Change, Glaciers, Climate, Snow, Ice, Polar