Nuugaatsiaq after the 2017 tsunami
Nuugaatsiaq after the 2017 tsunami
Nuugaatsiaq is located in Greenland
Location within Greenland
Coordinates: 71°32′06″N 53°12′45″W / 71.53500°N 53.21250°W / 71.53500; -53.21250Coordinates: 71°32′06″N 53°12′45″W / 71.53500°N 53.21250°W / 71.53500; -53.21250
State Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent country Greenland
 • Total84
Time zoneUTC-03
Postal code
3961 Uummannaq

Nuugaatsiaq (old spelling: Nûgâtsiaq) is a settlement in the Avannaata municipality, in northwestern Greenland, located on an island off the southern coast of Sigguup Nunaa peninsula, in the Uummannaq Fjord basin. It had 84 inhabitants in 2010.[1]


On 17 June 2017, a landslide measuring 300 m × 1,100 m (980 ft × 3,610 ft) fell about 1 km (3,300 ft) into the Karrak fiord, causing a tsunami that hit Nuugaatsiaq.[2][3] Four people were killed, nine injured and eleven buildings were washed into the water.[2][3][4][5] In the beginning the tsunami had a height of 90 m (300 ft), but it was significantly lower once it hit the settlement.[3] Initially it was unclear if the landslide was caused by a small earthquake (magnitude 4),[2][5] but later it was confirmed that the landslide had caused the tremors.[3] The town was largely abandoned following the tsunami.[6]


Main article: Nuugaatsiaq Heliport

Air Greenland serves the village as part of government contract, with mostly cargo helicopter flights from Nuugaatsiaq Heliport to Illorsuit and Uummannaq.[7]

Royal Arctic Line also serves the village by ship. This sea link connects Nuugaatsiaq, and other villages on Uummannaq Fjord to Aasiaat.[8]


The population of Nuugaatsiaq has dropped by over 16 percent relative to the 2000 levels, reflecting a general trend in the region.[9] A November 2015 edition of National Geographic reported about 80 inhabitants, with many houses in the village empty.[10]

Nuugaatsiaq population dynamics
Nuugaatsiaq population growth dynamics in the last two decades. Source: Statistics Greenland[9]


  1. ^ Statistics Greenland Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine (in Danish)
  2. ^ a b c Kokkegård, H. (19 June 2017). "Geus: Uklart, om jordskælv udløste grønlandsk tsunami [Unclear if earthquake caused Greenlandic tsunami]". Ingeniøren. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "After recon trip, researchers say Greenland tsunami in June reached 300 feet high". Georgia Institute of Technology. 25 July 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Four missing after tsunami strikes Greenland coast". BBC News. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Greenland tsunami leaves four people missing". Irish Independent. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  6. ^ McGwin, Kevin (February 2, 2021). "Researchers recommend a warning system for Greenland hamlets flooded by 2017 tsunami". Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  7. ^ "Booking system". Air Greenland. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Pajuttaat Schedule". Royal Arctic Line. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b Statistics Greenland Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Folger, Tim (November 2015). "Melting Away". National Geographic.