11-Million-Ton Iceberg Threatens Greenland - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Residents of a tiny Greenland village called Innaarsuit are worried that a big chunk of an 11-million-ton iceberg is going to cause a tsunami that wipes it all out.

The huge, icy mountain is about 650 feet wide and almost 300 feet tall.

What happens with it will depend on what the weather does. A strong wind, according to meteorologists, could blow it into Baffin Bay, where it wouldn’t cause any problems for the residents of Innaarsuit. However, if there’s a lot of warm rain, the iceberg could become further destabilized – and if that happens, a big piece of it could break off and create a monster wave that would cover the village.

Joerg Shaefer, a climate researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said, “It’s not a peaceful process.”

Dozens of people have been moved inland, where they’ll be safer from a potential tsunami. Boaters and fishermen have been asked to move their watercraft away from the iceberg, as well.

People in Greenland are still reeling from an earthquake last year, which triggered a large tsunami that killed four people and washed away 11 homes. The tsunami occurred near the village of Nuugaatsiaq, which still hasn’t recovered.

Right now, a Danish Royal Navy ship is on standby in case the situation escalates.

The whole fishing village is concerned, because the iceberg is now grounded in shallow water. Chunks of ice have already begin to fall off it, in a process called calving. Even if the iceberg doesn’t lose a big piece that causes a tsunami, because of its location, calving could cause surges of water up rivers near the village and cause flooding – and that’s definitely a risk in the middle of Greenland’s rainy season, which lasts through the summer.

The village’s coastal area is home to many elderly residents, a power plant and the village’s one shop.

Have you ever seen a tsunami, and what would you do in a situation like this? I’d love to hear your stories, so please share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino