Tag Archives: Greenland

Qinngua Valley, Greenland’s Only Forest

Greenland is actually quite white and blue, due to all the glaciers that cover the world’s largest island like frosting on a cake. But near the southern end, sheltered within narrow fjords, there is still some greenery left.

South of Tasersuag Lake and east of Tasiusaq Fjord, oriented north-south, is a valley about 15 kilometers long that contains the only natural forest in Greenland. Qinngua Valley is protected on either side by tall mountains nearly 5,000 feet high that shields the valley from cold winds coming off the interior. The sea itself is 50 kilometers away. This creates a warm climate favorable to trees such as the downy birch and gray-leaf willow. The lack of strong winds allow the trees to stand up straight. Some of … Read the rest

Robert Peary’s Meteorite And Minik

Many historical figures are celebrated for achieving great things but conveniently forgotten of all the terrible things they did to other people. Christopher Columbus is one prime example. A quick Google search will reveal dozens of beloved characters with shady personalities, but one story that is not told often is that of Arctic explorer Robert. E. Peary who is widely believed to be the first person to have reached the North Pole in 1909. This story, however, begins a lot earlier.

About 10,000 years ago a large lump of extraterrestrial rock veered too close to the earth and got sucked into the planet’s gravitational field. As it slashed through the dense atmosphere, the intense heat generated weakened the structure of the iron meteorite and it exploded … Read the rest

Peary Land, The Land of Extremities

The northern tip of Greenland, despite being situated a little over 700 km from the north pole, is entirely ice free and has been for the last 8,000 years since the glaciers retreated. It is the most northerly ice-free region in the world. The climate is high arctic with a relatively warm summer of less than two months and long winters. Precipitation levels are so low that this region has been dubbed a ‘polar desert’.

This region, a peninsula, is called Peary Land—named in honor of Robert Peary, who first explored it during his expedition of 1891 to 1892.

peary-land

Peary Land contains the most northerly ice-free region of the world.

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Inuit Tactile Maps of Greenland

Like everybody else, the Inuit people of Greenland have been making maps to navigate the rugged coastline, but unlike maps made on paper, their maps are carved on wood that could be read in the dark by feeling. Often made of driftwood, these maps represent the contours of the coastline in a continuous line up one side of the wood and down the other. The contours of the land are highly exaggerated, allowing users to navigate entirely by feel. The navigator would often carry them under his mittens and feel the contours with his fingers to discern patterns in the coastline. Being made of wood, they are buoyant, so they float if accidentally dropped and could be easily retrieved.

These three wooden maps show the journey … Read the rest