Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_54


The coast of Greenland is related to the variety of rock types, and the activity of glacier ice during the Pleistocene and Holocene. Much of the western and southeastern coast consists of bedrock, often fringed by sea ice. The coast facing the Polar Sea is primarily built up of Pre-Cambrian sedimentary rock, whereas the northeast coast is dominated by Palaeozoic and Mesozoic formations. Younger geological strata, such as erodible Cretaceous sandstone and plateau basalts of Tertiary age are found both on the east and the west coast, but only between latitudes 69° and 72° N (Escher and Watt 1976).

Most of the rocks outcropping along the Greenland coasts are very resistant to marine erosion, and the coastal landforms bear the strong imprint of glaciation. The ice cap has been much more extensive, covering nearly all of Greenland until about 12,000 years ago. The effects of glaciation are most obvious in the numerous large fiords, where the ice cap, through selective erosion...


Late Pleistocene Marine Terrace Marine Erosion Coastal Landform Greenland Coast 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010