Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nuuk, Greenland - life in the big city

The USA is the third largest country in the world by land area, after Russia and Canada. It is also the third largest by population after China and India. Greenland is almost one quarter the size of the USA and comes in at number 12 world wide by size. However, the entire population of Greenland would not fill the seats of any one of the 60 largest stadiums in America and, in fact would only half fill the largest (Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor). That a country more than twice the size of Texas and California combined should be home to just 56,000 people takes some getting used to.
One reality is that 80% of the country is covered by the second largest ice mass in the world at 1,500 miles long, up to 680 miles wide and nearly 2 miles thick in places. If it were to melt it would lead to a global sea level increase of about 14 feet! The oldest ice, believed to be 110,000 years old, is continually being squeezed out in the form of glaciers and "calving" icebergs into the ocean as chunks break off. Brr! 
Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but enjoys a good deal of autonomy. Nuuk is the capital of Greenland and has a population of 17,000. The economy relies partly on the fishing industry and partly on block grants from Denmark. The most recent indigenous inhabitants were the Inuit people and these have been joined by Danish immigrants in more recent times. More illuminating images here.

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