Massive Iceberg Threatens Greenland Village With Tsunami

A huge iceberg has drifted dangerously close to a village on the western coast of Greenland, causing concern that it could trigger a tsunami if it breaks apart. The 300-foot-high mountain of ice lies adjacent to the village of Innaarsuit, a tiny town with 169 inhabitants.

According to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DBC), 33 inhabitants closest to the water were evacuated on Friday and still are not allowed back to their homes. Some evacuated people have moved further inland to stay with friends or relatives in nearby towns.

Keld Quistgaard from the Danish Meteorological Institute told the DBC that satellite data shows the iceberg is between 820 and 918 feet at the highest point. Of this, only 262 to 290 feet of it is exposed above the water. Quistgaard considers the iceberg to be about 656 feet wide and weighs approximately eight to 10 million tons.

“We are used to big icebergs, but we haven’t seen such a big one before,” Susanna Eliassen, a member of the village council in Innaarsuit, told the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation (KNR).

On Saturday, the mountain of ice had moved out from the shore and was sitting roughly 0.3 miles away from the village. KNR still considers it a “special situation,” and images below show how the area is still at an elevated risk of a tsunami, that is if, a large piece breaks off.

BBC Radio 5 tweeted, “The village of Innaarsuit in Greenland has been evacuated because of fears that a massive iceberg, which has grounded in the bay, may split and create a tsunami that would swamp the area.”

CGTN, a 24-hour English news channel, of China Central Television, provides another unique view of the harbor, in relation to the iceberg.

In the below footage from Oline Nielsen on Facebook and licensed to KNR, a large chunk of the iceberg can be seen collapsing into the water, which sends a tidal wave into the nearby harbor.

“The unusual thing is that the iceberg is so close to the village,” said Quistgaard. This could be due to a few things: right now there is a new moon, which means the water level is rising, it could be the reason why the iceberg has drifted so close to the shore, he added.

Eliassen also told Sermitsiaq, a national newspaper in Greenland, that the fishing industry has been particularly affected by the huge mountain of ice that is stuck a little north of Innaarsuit. “Fishermen must not go fishing because they cannot trade because of the iceberg poses a danger if it calms,” she said.

She states that the inhabitants of Innaarsuit respect the evacuation notice and hope the matter can be resolved shortly.

The Greenland Emergency Board will meet Monday morning to discuss the iceberg problem in Innaarsuit, with representatives from, among others, the Self-Government, Arctic Command and Health Service. A plan of action will be formulated to aid the village, however, given the size of the mountain of ice, there is not too much the government can do.

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It seems icebergs are on the move across the massive Danish territory. In June, researchers captured the moment when a four-mile long iceberg snapped off a glacier on the other side of the island.

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