AskDefine | Define nunatak

User Contributed Dictionary



From Greenlandic nunataq.


/ˈnʌnətæk/, /ˈnuːnətæk/


  1. A mountain top that is surrounded by glacial ice but is not covered by ice; a peak protruding from the surface ice sheet.
    • 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 155:
      The peak in whose lee you have chosen to set up your command post is far too regular in shape to be the nunatak you imagine it.


mountaintop surrounded by glacial ice

Extensive Definition

A nunatak (from Inuit nunataq) is an exposed, often rocky element of a ridge, mountain, or peak not covered with ice or snow within (or at the edge of} an ice field or glacier. The term is typically used in areas where a permanent ice sheet is present. Nunataks present readily identifiable landmark reference points in glaciers or ice caps and are often named.
Lifeforms on nunataks are frequently isolated by the surrounding ice or glacier creating unique habitats. Nunataks are generally angular and jagged because of freeze-thaw weathering, and can be seen to contrast strongly with the softer contours of the glacially eroded land below if the glacier retreats.
The word is of Greenlandic origin (quote: Nunataq — a hill or mountain completely surrounded by glacial ice ) and has been used in western European languages since the 1870s.
A band composed of research scientists that played in Antarctica during 2007's Live Earth event called itself "Nunatak".
Nunatak is also a brand of cold weather down jackets and sleeping bags made in Twisp Washington, USA. see

References in literature


nunatak in Czech: Nunatak
nunatak in Danish: Nunatak
nunatak in German: Nunatak
nunatak in Spanish: Nunatak
nunatak in Esperanto: Nunatako
nunatak in French: Nunatak
nunatak in Italian: Nunatak
nunatak in Lithuanian: Nunatakas
nunatak in Dutch: Nunatak
nunatak in Japanese: ヌナタク
nunatak in Norwegian: Nunatak
nunatak in Norwegian Nynorsk: Nunatak
nunatak in Polish: Nunatak
nunatak in Russian: Нунатак
nunatak in Finnish: Nunatak
nunatak in Swedish: Nunatak
nunatak in Chinese: 冰原岛峰
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1