a few words about Greenland

Greenland is a member country of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is an island located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland is politically and historically associated with Europe, specifically Iceland, Norway, and Denmark. However, physiographically and ethnically it is an Arctic island country, and geographically a part of the continent of North America. In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, with a relationship described by the Rigsfaellesskabet, and in 2008 Greenland voted to become a separate country within the Kingdom of Denmark, effective June 2009.

The Atlantic Ocean borders Greenland's southeast; the Greenland Sea is to the east; the Arctic Ocean is to the north; and Baffin Bay is to the west. The nearest countries are Iceland, east of Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean, and Canada, to the west and across Baffin Bay. Greenland is the world's largest island, and is the largest dependent territory by area in the world. It also contains the world's largest national park.

The total area of Greenland measures 2,166,086 km² (836,109 sq miles), of which the Greenland ice sheet covers approximately 81% and has a volume of approximately 2.85 million km3. The coastline of Greenland is 39,330 km (24,430 miles) long, about the same length as the Earth's circumference at the Equator. The highest point on Greenland is Gunnbjoern at 3,694 metres (12,119 ft). However, the majority of Greenland is under 1,500 metres (5,000 ft) elevation.

The weight of the massive Greenlandic ice cap has depressed the central land area to form a basin lying more than 300 m (1,000 ft) below sea level. The ice flows generally to the coast from the centre of the island. The extreme north of Greenland, Peary Land, is not covered by an ice sheet, because the air there is too dry to produce snow, which is essential in the production and maintenance of an ice sheet. If the Greenland ice sheet were to completely melt away, sea level would rise by more than 7 m (23 ft) and Greenland would most likely become an archipelago.

All towns and settlements of Greenland are situated along the ice-free coast, with the population being concentrated along the Western coast. The north-eastern part of Greenland is not part of any municipality, but is the site of the world's largest national park, Northeast Greenland National Park.



Photo credits: Mads Pihl & Carlo Lukassen

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