In Brief

Unstable iceberg looms over Greenland village

Locals fear falling chunks of ice could trigger a deadly tsunami

An 11-million-ton iceberg is looming over on a village in Greenland, putting it at risk of annihilation.

The enormous iceberg towers over the colourful wooden houses of Innaarsuit, a tiny coastal settlement which is home to around 200 residents.

The tableau might be picturesque, says NPR, but living in the shadow of the ice behemoth “could be life-threatening”.

Large icebergs are unstable structures, prone to “calving” - shedding massive shelves of ice. This particular tower of ice is so vast that falling shards could trigger a devastating tsunami.

“There are cracks and holes that make us fear it can calve any time,” village council member Susanne Eliassen told local media, the BBC reports.

If disaster were to strike, the majority of locals would be dangerously unprepared for a tidal onslaught.

Anna Hogg, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds told NPR that, despite their island home and reliance on maritime industries, most Greenlanders cannot swim.

“If you think about it, why would they be able to swim?” she said. “The ocean water is just so cold; you can't even put your toe in without it being unbearably freezing.”

So far, 33 villagers whose homes are closest to the shore have been evacuated. Other residents have been advised to seek higher ground further away from the coast.

The iceberg, which drifted towards the village at the rate of hundreds of metres per night, is currently grounded in the shallow bay.

The best case scenario, says Cnet, is that “a kind wind dislodges the iceberg from its current spot and it floats away from the village”.

In June last year, four people died after a glacial landslide sent a 100-metre-high waves sweeping through a settlement in north-western Greenland.

Recommended

Aung San Suu Kyi: victim, villain or hero?
Aung San Suu Kyi
Profile

Aung San Suu Kyi: victim, villain or hero?

What will the next global pandemic look like?
Ebola
Today’s big question

What will the next global pandemic look like?

What the ‘One China’ principle means for future of Taiwan
Taiwanese people wave their national flag during celebrations in capital Taipei to commemorate the foundation of the Republic of China
Expert’s view

What the ‘One China’ principle means for future of Taiwan

MH370: Godfrey theory ‘closest anyone has come’ to solving aviation mystery
Tribute to MH370 passengers
The latest on . . .

MH370: Godfrey theory ‘closest anyone has come’ to solving aviation mystery

Popular articles

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?
Boris Johnson
Behind the scenes

Is Boris Johnson’s authority ‘evaporating’?

Is World War Three looming?
Xi Jinping
In Depth

Is World War Three looming?

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

The Week Footer Banner