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[nuhn-uh-tak] /ˈnʌn əˌtæk/
a hill or mountain that has been completely encircled by a glacier.
1875-80; < Inuit (West Greenlandic) nunataq Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nunatak
  • The ice margin lie across the top of the bluff a few rods east of the point, the latter projecting as a nunatak.
British Dictionary definitions for nunatak


an isolated mountain peak projecting through the surface of surrounding glacial ice and supporting a distinct fauna and flora after recession of the ice
Word Origin
C19: via Danish from Inuktitut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for nunatak

isolated mountain peak that once projected through a continental ice sheet or an Alpine-type ice cap. Because they usually occur near the margin of an ice sheet, nunataks were thought to be glacial refuges for vegetation and centres for subsequent reoccupation of the land. Later studies revealed the existence of more likely areas of refuge and the fact that postglacial weathering may destroy glacial evidence on peaks. Thus, identification of a true nunatak is difficult, and such peaks often cannot be used to determine former ice thicknesses.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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