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Trapped in a "sassat"
One spring, a biologist tracking polar bears discovered a group of more than two dozen bears gathered around a cluster of swimming pool-sized air holes in the solid sea ice.
The holes turned out to be the only lifelines for some 75 whales that had been trapped more than 30 km / 20 miles from open water by a sudden advance in the ice edge.
Beluga whales are well adapted to cold and ice and are frequently found in areas where pack ice is common. Sometimes, if the ice pack shifts or the water freezes quickly, whales can become stranded without sufficient breathing holes to reach the open sea.
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Polar Bears, Ice, Arctic
Links: Animals, Arctic
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?