AskDefine | Define icecap

Dictionary Definition

icecap n : a mass of ice and snow that permanently covers a large area of land (e.g., the polar regions or a mountain peak) [syn: ice cap]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A permanent expanse of ice encompassing a large geographical area, e.g. in Earth's polar zones.
    The ocean beneath the arctic icecap hosts many unique organisms adapted to the cold and lack of light.


A permanent expanse of ice encompassing a large geographical area

Extensive Definition

An ice cap is an ice mass that covers less than 50 000 km² of land area (usually covering a highland area). Masses of ice covering more than 50 000 km² are termed an ice sheet.
Ice caps are not constrained by topographical features (i.e., they will lie over the top of mountains) but their dome is usually centred around the highest point of a massif. Ice flows away from this high point (the ice divide) towards the ice cap's periphery.
icecap in Danish: Iskappe
icecap in German: Eiskappe
icecap in Spanish: Campos de Hielo
icecap in French: Calotte glaciaire
icecap in Dutch: IJskap
icecap in Portuguese: Calota de gelo
icecap in Vietnamese: Chỏm băng
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