The Greenlandic Ice Sheet

The vast scale of the ice cap puts the world in its proper perspective – whether you see it from a dog sled, the sea, on a pair of skis or in a pair of walking boots.

Some destinations in the world are home to the most active volcano or the largest coral reef, but Greenland has something of a totally different nature as its claim to fame – the Greenland Ice Sheet. This coast-to-coast ice cap has almost single-handedly formed the world’s perceptions of our large northern country, and for the many populations who have lived in Greenland throughout the millennia, it has all but defined the entire way of life.

Historically, the ice cap was rather deserted as Greenlanders opted instead to stay on sea ice with access to fertile waters below. Now, thanks to aircraft, boats, and most importantly, wanderlust, the Greenland Ice Sheet has since become a sought-after spot for travelers in search of unmistakable Arctic adventure.


In some places you can walk on this permanent historical monument from the last ice age, for instance at Kangerlussuaq. It is an experience that is out of this world!

Travellers looking for an extreme experience also have the chance to cross the ice sheet. It is a great challenge, requiring special permission and competence, which only a handful of bureaus have specialized in offering to customers.

Greenland’s ice sheet creates enormous glaciers, which under the influence of the force of gravity are forced out towards the coasts. Here the ice breaks off and forms the icebergs that are one of Greenland’s major natural attractions. The ice’s total area of 1.8 million km² (695,000 square miles) corresponds to 14 times the size of England. The ice-free area amounts to 350,000 km² (135,000 square miles) – equivalent to the area of Germany.

The ice sheet has covered large parts of Greenland for the last 2-3 million years, but active glaciers and constant melting have meant that the ice has been recycled many times. The aging ice sheet is only a few meters thick at the ice fringe, but more than 3,200 meters (10,500 feet) thick at its highest point. The ice contains 10 per cent of the world’s reserves of fresh water as well as atmospheric particles which scientists can use to gain an insight into the climate of both Greenland and the Earth going back some 250,000 years.




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