[CRYOLIST] When is a glacier no longer a glacier?

Allen Pope apope00 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 14:47:48 PDT 2018

Dear Cryolist,

I recently saw this documentary advertised (https://www.notokmovie.com/)
about the Icelandic (former) glacier of Okjökull, and it is partly premised
on being the first glacier in Iceland to lose its formal title of glacier
(We are going to do a screening in north Iceland, too, at the end of next
week. You know, if you happen to be around Dalvík next Friday night...)

This documentary uses a definition of size and thickness, and therefore not
currently able to flow any more, to be stripped of its title.

BUT, the Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms
<http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001925/192525e.pdf> defines a
glacier as "A perennial mass of ice, and possibly firn and snow,
originating on the land surface by the recrystallization of snow or other
forms of solid precipitation and showing evidence of past or present flow.
", and it would seem that Ok, from its patterning, could be argued to show
evidence of past flow, I think?

So - what does Cryolist think? When does a glacier become not a glacier?
Are there other examples of this being claimed/stated? Or any literature on
this? I know this may seem a bit pedantic, but it is a claim that can and
has clearly drive some headlines and will be happening increasingly in the

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