Jakobshavn Isbræ is a major ice stream that drains the west-central Greenland ice sheet and becomes afloat in Jakobshavn Isfjord (69° N, 49° W), where it has maintained the world’s fastest-known sustained velocity and calving rate (7 kma−1) for at least four decades. The floating portion is approximately 12 km long and 6 km wide. Surface elevations and motion vectors were determined photogrammetrically for about 500 crevasses on the floating ice, and adjacent grounded ice, using aerial photographs obtained 2 weeks apart in July l985. Surface strain rates were computed from a mesh of 399 quadrilateral elements having velocity measurements at each corner. It is shown that heavy crevassing of floating ice invalidates the assumptions of linear strain theory that (i) surface strain in the floating ice is homogeneous in both space and time, (ii) the squares and products of strain components are nil, and (iii) first- and second-order rotation components are small compared to strain components. Therefore, strain rates and rotation rates were also computed using non-linear strain theory. The percentage difference between computed linear and non-linear second invariants of strain rate per element were greatest (mostly in the range 40–70%) where crevassing is greatest. Isopleths of strain rate parallel and transverse to flow and elevation isopleths relate crevassing to known and inferred pinning points.