Massive Iceberg Looming Over Remote Village Of 169 People
In an image released by the European Space Agency on July 17, the giant chunk of ice is seen just off the coast of Innaarsuit, a remote village on Greenland's west coast that serves as home to 169 people.
Dozens of these residents have already been evacuated to higher ground last week amid fears that the 11 million-ton iceberg may break apart and trigger a tsunami that can wash away low-lying buildings. The local power plant is situated on the coast so there were concerns that the waves could also potentially shut down the village's power supply.
"This satellite image, captured by Sentinel-2A on 9 July 2018, shows a huge iceberg perilously close to the village of Innaarsuit on the west coast of Greenland," ESA said. "If the berg breaks apart, waves resulting from the falling ice could wash away parts of the village."
Frequently Visited By Large Icebergs
The residents of Innaarsuit are relatively used to see large icebergs drifting by their remote area but the most recent visitor, a giant chunk of ice weighing around 10 million tonnes, is one of the biggest in memory.
Strong winds and elevated tides have reportedly blown the iceberg a few hundred meters away from the harbor over the weekend. Some of the evacuated residents were already given the green light to return to their homes. The streets and houses within 10 meters from the coast, however, remain off limits, along with a fish factory, a power plant, and a convenience store.
The image, which was taken by ESA's Sentinel-2A satellites on July 9, also showed that there were other large icebergs in the vicinity.
Earth Observation Mission
Sentinel-2 is an Earth observation mission developed as part of the Copernicus Program to conduct terrestrial observations to monitor plant growth, map changes in land cover, monitor forests, as well as provide information and images of pollution in bodies of water, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions, which can help with risk mitigation and disaster response.
"This unique environmental monitoring programme is making a step change in the way we manage our environment, understand and tackle the effects of climate change and safeguard everyday lives," ESA said.