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The ice cap that covers the Arctic Ocean and seas is constantly moving - shifting, splitting and colliding. When the great sheets of ice collide, ridges of ice - called "pressure ridges" - build up at the point of collision.
Pressure ridges occur mostly in newer ice because new ice is the most salty and flexible of the ice types. Such ice is relatively weak in strength when newly formed, and is a navigational hazard not because of its strength, but rather because of the thickness. Sea ice has made the Northwest Passage impractical as a shipping route.
The captains of icebreakers know that what may appear to be a low ridge of ice is more likely to be a huge underwater wall that could stop their ship dead in the water.
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Library: Arctic, Ice, Icebergs
Links: Arctic, Cold Places, Boats & Ships
Maps: Northwest Passage
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?