Geology of Greenland

Main Vein (a quartz-gold vein), outcrop exposure at Nalunaq Gold Mine, southern Greenland

Greenland is the largest island on Earth. Only one-fifth of its surface area is exposed bedrock, the rest being covered by ice. The exposed surface is approximately 410,000 km2.

Its geology is dominated by crystalline rocks of the Precambrian Shield.[1] The geology of the Nuuk/Qeqertarsuatsiaat area consist of some of the oldest bedrock in Greenland which cover most of the western Greenland. The surface has been altered several times and has an appearance as it were shaped billions of years back in time. This is one the reasons why the Nuuk area is extraordinary and also because the particular climatezone for the area resulting in a limited vegetation makes it possibly to observe the contexture in a large scale. The bedrock around Nuuk consist of rock nearly as old as the area around Isukasia which is around 3.600 million years. The type of rock is dark gneiss called Amitsoq gneiss. In the processing of the oldest bedrock younger materials has been mixed between and is identified as brighter gneiss referred to as Nuuk gneiss. The Isukasia area is extraordinary containing some of the oldest bedrock on the planet approximately 3800 million years. The bedrock is not nearly as processed as the surrounding gneiss bedrock and are therefore of interest for answering how the planet earths surface appeared billions of years ago. The bedrock contain a massive magnatite ressource.

There are large deposits of rare earth oxides at Kvanefjeld.

Greenland's first gold mine is the Nalunaq Gold Mine, which opened in 2004. Nalunaq is located 33 km northeast of Nanortalik, in the Ketilidian Orogenic Belt of southern Greenland (60° 21′ 29″ N, 44° 50′ 11″ W). Hanging wall rocks at the Nalunaq Mine are Paleoproterozoic amphibolite-facies metavolcanics. Footwall rocks are volcanogenic massive sulfides. Quartz-gold mineralization here has been dated to 1.77 to 1.80 billion years ago (late Paleoproterozoic), during the Ketilidian Orogeny. [2]

See also


  1. "Greenland Geology." Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. 20 June 2003 (retrieved 26 Dec 2010)
  2. Nalunaq Gold Mine, information courtesy of the mine owner.
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