Feb 1, 2010

Greenland - World's Largest Island

Greenland  is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically associated with Europe (specifically Denmark-Norway) for about a millennium.

In 1979, Denmark granted home rule to Greenland, with a relationship known in Danish as Rigsfællesskabet, and in 2008 Greenland voted to transfer more competencies to the local government. This became effective the following year, with the Danish royal government remaining in charge only of foreign affairs, security and financial policy, and providing a subsidy of DKK 3.4 billion ($633m), or approximately US$11,300 per Greenlander, annually.

Greenland is, by area, the world's largest island that is not a continent. It is the least densely populated country in the world.

The bedrock in the center of Greenland has been pressed below sea level by the weight of the ice sheet. Thus, if the ice suddenly melted, much of central Greenland would be under water.

Geography of Greenland

Greenland, the largest island in the world, is located between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada and northwest of Iceland. Greenland has no land boundaries and 44,087 km of coastline. A sparse population is confined to small settlements along the coast. Greenland possesses the world's second largest ice sheet.

The vegetation is generally sparse, with the only patch of forested land being found in Nanortalik Municipality in the extreme south near Cape Farewell.

The climate is arctic to subarctic with cool summers and cold winters. The terrain is mostly a flat but gradually sloping icecap that covers all land except for a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast. The lowest elevation is sea level and the highest elevation is the summit of Gunnbjørn Fjeld, the highest point in the Arctic at 3,694 meters (12,120 ft). The northernmost point of the Island of Greenland is Cape Morris Jesup, discovered by Admiral Robert Peary in 1909. Natural resources include zinc, lead, iron ore, coal, molybdenum, gold, platinum, uranium, fish, seals, and whales.

Area

Total: 2,175,600 km²
Land: 2,175,600 km² (341,700 km² ice-free, 1,833,900 km² ice-covered) (est.)

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nautical miles
territorial sea: 3 nautical miles


Source: 1, 2


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