The Disko Island ( Kalaallisut: Qeqertarsuaq German " Big Island" ) with an area of 8578 km ² (compared to Mallorca 3640 km ², Corsica: 8680 km ²) is located about 60 kilometers west of Ilulissat ( Jakobshavn ) off the west coast of Greenland in Disko Bay ( Qeqertarsuup Tunua ). It is separated from the mainland by the Greenland Vaigat Sound.
The resulting ago 55 to 65 million years mountain ranges are of reddish basalt, the highest elevation is 1919 meters, the average altitude is 975 meters. The permafrost of the island, the only tundra vegetation, agricultural land and trees are not. The interior of the Disko Island covers a large part of the Sermersuaq (ie " Great Glacier "). Above Qeqertarsuaq is the smaller Lyngmarksgletscher.
The Disko Island is sparsely populated, there are only two continuously inhabited places. The largest settlement is Qeqertarsuaq ( Godhavn ) with about 1000 inhabitants in the south. About 35 kilometers to the north are still very original Inuit settlement located Kangerluk with 50 inhabitants, who live by hunting and fishing. Until the 1970s there were in the Northeast or the belonging to a coal mine Bergarbeitersiedlung Qullissat. After the closure of the mine, however, the residents were relocated to Qeqertarsuaq.
Interestingly, the Disko Island is because of their interspersed with fossils geological formations.
The Bergarbeitersiedlung Qullissat
Icebergs off Disko Island
In Qeqertarsuaq traces of paleo- Eskimos and the Dorset culture were found, however, whether already at that time there was a permanent place of settlement, is still controversial. In the immediate vicinity, at Ilulissat, the major settlement site Sermermiut the Saqqaq culture was excavated. It is therefore very likely that the Disko Island sought out regularly in prehistoric proto- Inuit peoples.
In the search for the legendary Northwest Passage anchored on 4 July 1845, the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror Expedition of Sir John Franklin in the bay Qeqertarsuaq to once again take fresh water. Except for a brief sighting by a whaler on the high seas, a few days later, this was the last time that the 138 members of the expedition were seen alive.