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Inaugural Voyages: Expeditions

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A WORLD SHAPED BY ICE

A WORLD SHAPED BY ICE Exploring Earth’s largest reserves of fresh water THE GREAT LAKES ARE THE LARGEST FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEM ON THE PLANET.An iconic part of the geological and cultural heritage of North America, they contain nearly 23,000 cubic kilometers of water—a full 21% of the world’s surface fresh water. After the last ice age 14,000 years ago, the power of the retreating Wisconsin ice sheet slowly chiseled and carved out immense basins, forming the lakes. Today the ice sheet is gone, and these Great Lakes support a multitude of wildlife and are home to over 40 million people along their 10,000-mile long shores. The Formation of the Great Lakes 12 VIKING.COM

GLACIAL RETREAT CARVED THE SPECTACULAR FJORDS OF NORWAY.Svalbard’s still glacier-filled fjords demonstrate nature’s awe-inspiring power through their rugged, dramatic topography. Although the Arctic is predominantly ocean surrounded by continents, the Svalbard archipelago and other Arctic islands contain significant freshwater reserves, most notably in the Greenland ice sheet, which contains 2.9 million cubic kilometers of ice. The Arctic ice pack, comprised of sea ice, seasonally melts in spring and summer, shrinking by mid-September to around 50% of the winter coverage. About 28% of the ice is multiyear ice, up to 13 ft. in some areas. Seasonal Arctic Ice ARCTIC WINTER ARCTIC SUMMER THE LARGEST BLOCK OF ICE ON EARTH,the Antarctic ice sheet contains over 26 million cubic kilometers of ice, an estimated 61% of all the fresh water on the globe. This continent the size of North America is still frozen. Yet despite this, it is neither silent nor motionless—explorers on the Antarctic peninsula can witness coastal ice shelves dramatically calving into icebergs and hear the cacophony of creatures who call this land home. As in the Arctic, the seas around Antarctica freeze over in winter and melt back each summer, reaching their annual minimum in late February and early March. Since the inception of satellitebased measurements in the 1970s, the extent of the ice has shown high variability from year to year. Seasonal Antarctic Ice 13