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Greenland:
Geography

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Greenland Page


Background
Definition
Greenland, the world's largest island, is about 81% ice-capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) with Denmark in 1973, but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Denmark continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs in consultation with Greenland's Home Rule Government.
Location
Definition
Northern North America, island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada
Geographic coordinates
Definition
72 00 N, 40 00 W
Map references
Definition
Arctic Region
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 2,166,086 sq km
land: 2,166,086 sq km (410,449 sq km ice-free, 1,755,637 sq km ice-covered) (2000 est.)
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly more than three times the size of Texas
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
44,087 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Climate
Definition
arctic to subarctic; cool summers, cold winters
Terrain
Definition
flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Gunnbjorn 3,700 m
Natural resources
Definition
coal, iron ore, lead, zinc, molybdenum, diamonds, gold, platinum, niobium, tantalite, uranium, fish, seals, whales, hydropower, possible oil and gas
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
continuous permafrost over northern two-thirds of the island
Environment - current issues
Definition
protection of the arctic environment; preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, including whaling and seal hunting
Geography - note
Definition
dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast; close to one-quarter of the population lives in the capital, Nuuk; world's second largest ice cap


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