A huge landslide generated tsunami waves damaging some villages in Greenland - 3 adults and a child considered dead - June 18, 2017

This damage was detected by our colleagues of the 2017 Earthquake Impact Database - EID on Google Docs

Update 16:15 UTC: New video has been included in a Danish newspaper. Watch it via this link

Update Wednesday 16:00 UTCMustRead article about what triggered the tsunami waves

Schermafbeelding 2017-06-21 om 18.02.26

Nuugaatsiaq Greenland landslide and tsunami: Seismograms suggest several stages of land failure
Seismograms around Nuugaatsiaq Greenland landslide image a complex source process lasting about 2 minutes.

Update Wednesday 15:41 UTC:
The final toll of this landslide tsunami will be 3 adults and 1 child still missing (police consider them as dead). 11 houses have been swept into the sea.

Schermafbeelding 2017-06-21 om 17.32.01

Schermafbeelding 2017-06-21 om 17.39.53

Image Palle Lauritsen

Update 14:03 UTC:
Below video via Dave Petley, global landslide specialist

Update 08:28 UTC: Some more comments about what happened.

It is still uncertain what caused the devastating tidal wave that hit Nuugaatsiaq on Saturday night, says a seismologist from GEUS [The National Geological Surveys for Denmark and Greenland].
“We have some signals at our earthquake stations resembling earthquakes, but they might also indicate that a landslide has been triggered,” says seismologist Peter Voss, from GEUS.  He explains that GEUS has a theory that it is a major slope from a mountain that has triggered the tide of waves: “The slump has made a large part of the mountain collapse into the fjord and has created this wave,” says Peter Voss.
But GEUS can not conclude anything from the measurements alone…He also tells that the landslide could have been underwater, and then it will be difficult to detect.

Update 08:05 UTC: Reader Ilannguaq kristiansen commented on this article that  the village on the picture and video is not from Nuugaatsiaq but Illorsuit, another village that got hit by tsunami. We have adapted the text as requested.

Update Monday, 07:58 UTC: The 4 people reported as missing yesterday are still unaccounted for. They will be probably dead unless a miracle happened. You should know that the sea temperature is very cold in this area of the world and that even 1 hour in the ice cold water can kill people.
The evacuated population has been ordered to remain in the evacuation centers because specialists are still examining what happened and are afraid that other land- or sea slides can happen again.

Update 12:40 UTC: 78 people have been evacuated from the village of Nuugaatsiaq
The Danish authorities did report that 4 people are still missing and that 2 people were seriously injured. 7 others sustained slight injuries.
11 houses haven swept in the water and are gone.
At the moment of the tsunami 101 people lived in Nuugaatsiaq. 23 people are still in the village, the rest has been evacuated to Uummannaq.

Although we have no registered earthquake in the area, the Danish seismological service GEUS has confirmed to the Danish press that a M4.0 earthquake occurred in Greenland. Several villages have been inundated by the water. One of them the village of Illorsuit (see picture).

The Danish police gives only limited information as they are trying to find out what exactly happened and how many villages sustained damage.
Shortly after the news reached Denmark, the authorities have requested the population to go for higher ground.

Greenland had similar tsunamis in the past. They were often caused by land- or seaslides.

Except for the material damage, there is no news of injuries or fatalities but nothing can be excluded at the moment.

The Greenland coast is sparsely populated.

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Update 13:11 UTC: The video below shows another wave of water swelling into the village. Although the video does not give additional details, we believe that this swelling is not the destructive tsunami. the hurling sounds of animals is from the huskies who are used by the Greenlanders for hunting. As per my earlier visit to Ittoqotoormit, Greenland i remember that these huskies are fixed to anchors, so it would not surprise me that some dogs may have been killed by the water too.

The Google Earth map below shows the steep cliffs in the surrounding sounds. Additionally the village of Nuugaatsiaq is located on a plateau with steep cliffs in the background.

Schermafbeelding 2017-06-18 om 11.25.08

Update 09:56 UTC: The population of the village of Nuugaatsiaq (2010 census 84 inhabitants) have now all been evacuated to the town of Uummannaq (1200 inhabitants) as the authorities do fear for aftershocks who can generate additional land- or seaslides.

Update 09:58 UTC: The probable epicenter location of the earthquake in on the below photo (we projected 30 km North of Nuugaatsiaq on the map). The Danish seismological service GEUS had the data but is probably NOT working on a Sunday as we cannot gather more precise information or news in their website!

Schermafbeelding 2017-06-18 om 12.07.48



  1. I'm not expert on any waves or vulcans, but do you people think that the tsunami of north Greenland was created by "awaking" Yellow stone super vulcans earthquakes? And wouldn't happened if Greenland was outside of the north america's continent? I am sure that there's some earthquakes on another places that here and there.

  2. http://m.sermitsiaq.ag/fjeldskredet

    Link a video footage of the area where mountain collapsed and made a tsunami

  3. Ilannguaq kristiansen says

    This village on the picture and video is not from Nuugaatsiaq but Illorsuit, another village that got hit by tsunami

    • Armand Vervaeck says

      Only saw your message now and have adapted the text. Thank you for telling us!

  4. Jeanette Holding says

    Correction to the update 12.40 UTC

    - 23 people are still unaccounted for - but they could be out fishing or on holiday. All the inhabitants are evacuated to Uummannaq

  5. The 23 people who you say are still in the village, are unaccounted for, not necessarily missing though, they may be out fishing/hunting, visiting other villages or even abroad, they are not accounted for, but the authorities would very much like to get in contact with them or people who may know about them.
    Link to the police press release http://knr.gl/da/nyheder/politiets-pressem%C3%B8de-fire-meldes-savnet

    • Armand Vervaeck says

      We consulted many sources and never spoke in our article about 23 missing, only 4. Now on Monday the 4 are still missing, but thank you for your comment.