Huge iceberg threatens Greenland village

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A giant iceberg is seen behind an Innaarsuit settlement, GreenlandImage source, Reuters

A huge iceberg has drifted close to a village in western Greenland, prompting a partial evacuation in case it splits and the resulting wave swamps homes.

The iceberg is looming over houses on a promontory in the Innaarsuit village but is grounded and did not move overnight, local media say.

Local officials say they have never seen such a big iceberg before.

Last summer, four people died after waves swamped houses in north-western Greenland after an earthquake.

Those of Inaarsuit's 169 residents living nearest the iceberg have been moved, Danish news agency Ritzau said.

"There are cracks and holes that make us fear it can calve any time," village council member Susanne Eliassen told the local newspaper Sermitsiaq.

Media caption,

Watch: Huge iceberg breaks apart near a village in western Greenland

The village's power station and fuel tanks are close to the shore, she said.

Some experts have warned that extreme iceberg events risk becoming more frequent because of climate change. This in turn increases the risk from tsunamis.

In June, New York University scientists released video footage of a massive iceberg breaking away from a glacier in eastern Greenland.

Greenland ice sheet in numbers

  • Total ice area: 1.799 million sq km
  • Total ice volume: 2.99 million cu km
  • Mean thickness: 1,673m
  • Thickest ice: 3,488m