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Images: A Glacier's Pace

WHOI oceanographer Fiamma Straneo watches as a crane begins to lower a sampling device into the icy waters of a glacial fjord in Greenland. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)

Greenland is under an ice sheet that drains into the ocean via glaciers such as this one. Many of the glaciers have shrunk rapidly in recent years. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)

Greenlander Arqaluk Jørgensen and WHOI researchers Fiamma Straneo and Dave Sutherland ready Jørgensen’s boat for the day’s trip into Sermilik Fjord in 2008. (Photo by Jim Ryder, WHOI)

Pack ice closes behind the Arctic Sunrise as the Greenpeace vessel makes its way up a fjord in eastern Greenland in 2009. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)

Physical oceanographer Ruth Curry draws a water sample from the bottom of Sermilik Fjord. The white frame houses an acoustic Doppler current profiler, which measures the speed of currents, and an instrument that measures pressure, temperature, salinity, and turbidity of the water. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)

From the open door of the Greenpeace helicopter, WHOI mooring engineer Jim Ryder aims an XBT, or expendable bathythermograph, at a patch of open water in Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord. As it falls to the bottom, the XBT will send back information on the fjord water’s temperature. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)

As the helicopter they arrived in departs, a team of researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Maine prepares to drill through the ice to sample the water beneath it in 79N, a glacial fjord in northeastern Greenland. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)

A massive tongue of ice covers much of the fjord called "79N." The tongue extends from left to right in this picture. It has begun to split apart, forming a gap. Ice on the floor of the gap is thick enough to support researchers and equipment flown in by helicopter, yet thin enough to allow WHOI oceanographer Fiamma Straneo (kneeling) and colleagues to drill through it to sample water within the fjord below. (Photo by Nick Cobbing, © Greenpeace International)