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Is glacier ice colder than regular ice?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time, but big on science. I'm Steve Sobieszczyk. Today's question is a good one.

Is glacier ice colder than regular ice?

No - indeed, all of the physical, thermal and electrical properties of "regular icebox ice" and glacier ice are identical: density, viscosity, heat of fusion, latent heat, heat capacity, thermal conductivity, and absorption. The few small differences in characteristics are solely due to grain size differences. It's worth noting that high pressure forms of ice with different properties have been produced in laboratory experiments, but none occur naturally on earth, not even at the base of the Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets.

And now you know. Join us every weekday for a new CoreFact. If you're looking for more in-depth science coverage, please check out the USGS CoreCast at To have your own question potentially featured on the air, send it to or leave a voicemail with us at 703-648-5600; however do remember that this is a long distance charge, so long distance fees do apply.

The USGS CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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Title: Is glacier ice colder than regular ice?

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Date Recorded: 3/3/2008

Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

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