J Ollmal 01 Glaciology, Vol. 6, No. 48, 1967
T he E di tor,
J ournal of Glaciology
A bout the llse of the expression " Indlandsis": comments on Dr. W eidick 's letter
" But now, Socrates, wh at d o you think a ll thi s a m oun ts to? It is m ere
scrapin gs a nd sh avin gs of di scourse as I said a whil e ago, divided in to bi ts"
Plato, H ippias major, 304A,
q uoted in Ki erkegaard ( 1846), b ack of title-page
I n hi s letter, W eidick ( I 967) gives a good accoun t of the o rig in of th e term I ndlandsisen as a pplied to
t he ice whi ch covers th e w hol e of G reenl a nd. H e d em a nds th a t this term , a nd a lso its tra nslatio ns
(Inla nd I ce, I n la nd eis, Ind la nd sis) should be excl usively applied in the fu ture to the ice cover of G reenla nd. I think th a t this d em a nd is som ew ha t exaggerated .
F irst let us n ote th a t th e D a nish term f ndlandsisen is a pplied to th e ice of G reenl and tha nks to D r. Rink,
wh o first h a d th e genera l idea o f the ori g in a nd d evelop m en t of this immense glacier which covers
G reenl a nd. Bu t I ndlandsisen m ea ns ice of the in teri or, ice in th e middl e of th e la nd , continental ice (glace
continentale) according to the usage empl oyed by F . J ohnstrup ( 18go ) .
T his phenom en on ex ists not o nl y in G reenl a nd but a lso in the Antarctic . It a lso existed during past
geological eras in Fenno-Scandi a , North A m eri ca , th e Saha ra, South Afri ca, etc . during th e ice ages.
I t is thus legitima te to use this term for th e sam e pheno m eno n in o th er pa r ts of the world th a n G ree nl a nd ,
a nd I consid er th at we a re ho nouring th e D a nish geographer Rink in using his te rm f ndlal1dsisen .
F urth er this term can easily be tra nslated in to E ng lish (Inland I ce) a nd Germ a n ( fnlandeis ). W e m ay
n ote that I ce Shee t has a m ore genera l m ea ning th a n I n land I ce, a nd is not a syno nym . If th e D a nish
term and its tra nsla tions can only be used for th e ice cover of Greenl a nd , wh a t ar e we to call th e oth er
continenta l ice covers? Furthermore, W eidick should give a tra nsla tio n , exclusively for G reenl a nd , of
fndlandsisen in a ll o th er la nguages such as Russia n , Chinese, etc .
In Frenc h there is n o li teral tra nslatio n a nd as the term glace continentale is not very h a ppy, fo r m ore
th a n h a lf a cen tury f nlandsis h as been used. P etit L arousse gives the following d efini tion :
I NLANDSIS n .m . (m ot no rveg. , d e in, d a ns, land, p ays, et is, glace). G lac ier continen tal d es r egio ns
pola ires reco uvran t le r elief e t se termin a nt a sa periph eri e pa r d es glaciers d e vallee qui a tteig nent
la m er, ou pa r une ba rri ere d e glace . SVN. : calotte glacia ire.
W e m ay criti cize barriere an d calou e, bu t we must rej ect the nom masculin, norvegien which comes we know
not w h ence, d esp ite its co nsecra tio n by usage. This is why fo r som e years, at the r eques t of o ur D a nish
coll eagu es, a nd to ho no ur Rink, we have been using the term f ndlandsis for a n ice cover existi ng or
h av ing ex isted in polar regio ns. Bu t we d o no t favour limi ti ng its use to G reenl and. Otherw ise where d o
we go ? I t wo uld be better to impose o n in tern a tio na l usage the Eskim o term Sermerssua which was g iven
to the Ind la ndsis well b efore th e D a nes cam e to G reenl a nd (sermersslla = " la rge gla cier" ) .
A nd what a bo u t sm orrebrod , ko kkenmodding, kayak, a nora k, etc . . . . exclusively D a nish ?
Centre d'Etlldes Glaciologiqlles des R egions Arctiques et Antarctiques,
Face au 22, Quai Carnot,
9 2 S aillt-Cloud, France
[[ Febmary [9 67
J ohnstrup, F. 1890. Resume des comm uni cations sur le Gm nland. M eddelelser om Gronland, Bd . I, N r. 7, p. 187- 21I .
Ki erkegaa rd , S. A. 1846. Af slut/ellde lluidenskabelig efterskrift til de philosophiske SIIwier. Mimisk-pathetisk-dialektisk
sammenskrift; existentielt indltEg af J ohannes ClimaClls. Kobenhavn, Reitze!'
Weidick, A. 1967. About th e use of th e expression " inland ice". J 01lrnal of Glaciology, Vo!. 6, No. 47, p . 763 .
About the use flf the exjJression " fndlandsis": comments
D r. W eidick 's leUer
No one is unaware tha t the term Indla lldsis (with a capita l I ) was origina ll y the name given to the ice
sh eet in th e interior of G reenland . But the proper name has been used in Fra nce by geogra phers as a

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