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A Newly Discovered Greenland Island Has Transformed Regional Maps

by Holly Chavez Blog

Earlier this month, Mauri Pelto (glacier researcher) indicated that the latest island has been uncovered. Each of these new discoveries has changed the regional map, and it also gives us new insight into exactly how much land covers the earth’s surface.
Antarctic Peninsula

Regions: Arctic

Destinations: Greenland

A Newly Discovered Greenland Island Has Transformed Regional Maps

Two glaciers that you might have the chance to see during your cruise to Greenland are the Kier Glacier and the Steenstrup Glacier, both of which have been retreating since at least 1999. Although this can be linked to climate change, it has also offered researchers the fascinating opportunity to learn about islands and other land formations that have been hidden throughout recorded history. Earlier this month, Mauri Pelto (glacier researcher) indicated that the latest island has been uncovered. Each of these new discoveries has changed the regional map, and it also gives us new insight into exactly how much land covers the earth’s surface. 

Previous Discoveries

The researchers in charge of studying glacier changes in the Greenland region have noted an extensive list of previously unknown land formations since 1999. For example, there is an entire new generation of islands that were revealed by the continual retreating movement of Steenstrup Glacier. One of the newest and most interesting discoveries is that the Tugtuligssup Sarqardlerssuua Mountain is connected to an unnamed island. When this was found in 2013, the island was described as being unstable. Interestingly, this island is also very narrow and crevassed, which was most likely caused by being covered with ice for so long. However, it is possible that some of this particular landmass has not yet been unveiled.

Several of the islands in this region have only been documented and explored via sonar. In other words, there may soon be additional details available as research teams are able to deploy more equipment to help them collect data. Either way, it is clear that Greenland’s regional maps will probably need continual updating for the foreseeable future. This is an exciting time for geologists and glacier scientists because it gives them the opportunity to look at many unknown areas that were, at one time in the past, not covered in a thick sheet of ice.

Are These Truly Islands?

The thin, often unstable nature of these newly found land areas could make some people question whether or not they are actually islands at all. Pelto addressed this concern in an interview, during which he stated that “It would never have been shown as an island in the before, but it certainly has been an island you would think in the past. It all depends on your time frame.” In other words, the areas that have been found may be much smaller than what most people think of when they hear the word island, but this does not invalidate their existence or the reasoning behind them being labeled as such now. 

What Could These Discoveries Lead To?

Unless a team is able to physically visit each island and collect samples, it will be difficult for much to change aside from our knowledge of the region’s geography. However, if the islands are found to be stable enough for actual exploration, it is possible that we could learn more about the earliest hominids and previous animal species. After all, most of Greenland’s glaciers began forming 3 million years ago, but scientists have traced hominids back at least 5 million years.

Due to the time gap, it is possible that new evidence about the origins of the human race could have been hidden underneath Greenland’s glaciers. Even if nothing of this nature is found, there is virtually certain to have been some type of life that was preserved by the glaciers or even simply existing underneath them right now such as the newly discovered life on the Antarctic sea floor. Ultimately, any new landmass discovery is exciting because it holds many possibilities.

There have been numerous other exciting things found underneath water. For example, the legendary lost city of Cleopatra was only recently found by marine archaeologists after being missing for 1,600 years. This treasure trove of ancient historical artifacts lies underneath a harbor in Alexandria, Egypt. There is no reason to discount the potential that the Greenland glaciers could be hiding something just as important from a historical standpoint.

Once in a Lifetime Greenland Expeditions

Greenland has a rich and fascinating history, including the fact that it was once roamed by Vikings. Now that new islands keep being found, it is even more intriguing to cruise through this area with a skilled team of tour guides. Not only will you be able to follow in the footsteps of Vikings and spot a diverse list of wildlife species but you just might see a newly discovered island off in the distance. Even if this does not happen during your once in a lifetime Arctic expedition cruise, you will still have the knowledge that Greenland’s regional maps are constantly changing.

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