Geography Oceanography, and Weather

Rain, Ice, and Geography

Why is Greenland called green when it is mostly covered in ice?

When Scandinavian explorers first discovered the large island north of Iceland in the late-tenth century, they wished to attract more settlers to the land, and so they named it Greenland, according to some sources. Another explanation is that the island was actually named “Gruntland,” the word “grunt” meaning “shallow bay.” The name was later mistranslated on maps, becoming Greenland. While much of the island is inhospitably covered by a huge glacier, the southern coastline does actually have vegetation and has served as good fishing ground. The Little Ice Age of the fifteenth century decimated the Viking settlements, however.


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