Curious Tracks Across an Icy Fjord 

by | Apr 24, 2023

Greenland lacks an obvious human fingerprint when viewed from space. Instead of sprawling cities or geometrically organized agriculture, an enormous ice sheet spans much of the island. But there is a fjord along the island’s southern perimeter where seasonal ice has temporarily revealed the presence of people. 

On March 13, 2023, the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9 acquired these natural-color images of Tunulliarfik Fjord. The images have been pan-sharpened to bring out more detail. 

At the time, the fjord’s waters were capped with a layer of sea ice. Atop the ice there are several long, straight lines connecting the towns of Narsarsuaq and Qassiarsuk, and running the length of the fjord. Though cracks and ridges can form naturally in the ice, there are indications that people were likely involved with producing some of the tracks pictured here. 

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey 


May Issue 2024