Since 2004, tsunamis have received a much bigger attention after several of these big waves had hit coastal areas in Asia killing more than 200‘000 people. However, these waves are not bound to the tropical or subtropical areas. On Saturday, June 17th, waves had struck the western coast of Greenland, causing havoc and destruction and presumably leaving four people dead.

The West coast of Greenland is the most populated part of the world’s largest island. Its topography and rich coastal waters make it the ideal spot for Greenland communities like Uummannaq. Credit: Michael Wenger
The West coast of Greenland is the most populated part of the world’s largest island. Its topography and rich coastal waters make it the ideal spot for Greenland communities like Uummannaq. Credit: Michael Wenger

A 4.1 magnitude earthquake, which struck 28 kilometres north of the northwest village of Nuugaatsiaq, is believed to have partially triggered the tsunami, according to a report from Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa, the national broadcaster in Greenland. The local newspaper, Sermitsiaq, reported that the four feared dead were inside their home in Nuugaatsiaq when waves struck and swept the structure into the ocean. KNR says Nuugaatsiaq has been evacuated, adding that the waves also struck the communities of Uummannaq and Illorsuit. A helicopter and boats have been deployed to assist in the search and rescue effort. Residents took to social media to post videos of the flooding. A video posted by Olina Angie K Nielsen on Facebook, which has since been taken down, showed residents of what is believed to be the community of Illorsuit running from waves that flooded homes on the shoreline.

This still picture taken from a video on Facebook shows the shoreline of Nuugaatsiaq after the waves had hit the town on the West coast of Greenland. Credit: CBC/Angie K Nielsen
This still picture taken from a video on Facebook shows the shoreline of Nuugaatsiaq after the waves had hit the town on the West coast of Greenland. Credit: CBC/Angie K Nielsen

The BBC is reporting that a total of 39 people have been evacuated from Nuugaatsiaq. A number of injuries have also been reported. Many residents in Nunavut have family ties in Greenland, which has a population of about 56,000. "Based on the magnitude, we suspect it wasn't the earthquake itself that triggered the tsunami, but in all likelihood, the earthquake triggered an underwater landslide, and that is what triggered the tsunami," said Allison Bent, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada. "Tsunamis that are triggered by landslides tend to be very local. They're not the ones that cross the ocean." Bent said it is highly unlikely the tsunami would cause flooding in Nunavut.

The West coast of Greenland with the town of Nuugaatsiaq. The Baffin Bay and Davis Strait divide Greenland and Canada. Still, many residents are related to each other on either side.
The West coast of Greenland with the town of Nuugaatsiaq. The Baffin Bay and Davis Strait divide Greenland and Canada. Still, many residents are related to each other on either side.

Source: CBC Canada