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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Grundtvigskirken pinnacle, East Greenland

The view from the top -- Salewa 2010 expedition.  Bear Islands in the distance, to the left of the mad climbers
Photo: Greenland Tourism site
Photo: Greenland Tourism site
Photo: Gullisig
Photo: Tony Higgins
Photo: Rolf Strange

I've been fascinated by this extraordinary rock pinnacle near the shore of Ofjord, at the head of Scoresby Sund in East Greenland.  Some of the above photos were taken from the nearby Bear Islands.  The pinnacle is made from reddish granite and other crystalline rocks belonging to the Caledonian fold belt in this area.  The altitude of the summit is at 1,977m.  This is some doubt about who made the first ascent, but it might have been a British Army team in 1978.

The pinnacle is generally known as Grundtvigskirken (because of its similarity to a Danish church of that name) but there is some dispute about the name.  Sometimes it is given a German spelling.  Nowadays an Inuit name is preferred -- and there is some confusion with another peak in the area too, further along on the same ridge.......

What interests me in particular is the peak's mode of formation.  It is probably a last remnant of a ridge separating two glacial troughs -- this much is obvious from the Tony Higgins photo.  But the same photo also shows an extraordinary amount of scouring on the slopes beneath the pinnacle -- and this evidence of intensive ice erosion is matched by the evidence from the nearby Bear Islands.

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