Qaarsorsuaq Island

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Aerial view of Qaarsorsuaq Island
Qaarsorsuaq is located in Greenland
Location Greenland
Coordinates 72°43′N 55°56′W / 72.717°N 55.933°W / 72.717; -55.933Coordinates: 72°43′N 55°56′W / 72.717°N 55.933°W / 72.717; -55.933
Archipelago Upernavik Archipelago
Area 124.7 km2 (48.1 sq mi)[1]
Length 14.83 km (9.215 mi)
Width 17.6 km (10.94 mi)
Coastline 67.6 km (42 mi)[1]
Highest elevation 1,042 m (3,419 ft)
Highest point Sandersons Hope
Municipality Qaasuitsup

Qaarsorsuaq Island (old spelling: Qaerssorsuaq) is an uninhabited[2] island in the Qaasuitsup municipality in northwestern Greenland. At 124.7 km2 (48.1 sq mi),[1] it is one of the largest islands in the Upernavik Archipelago, located in its southern part.[3] The name of the island means "a large rock surface" in the Greenlandic language.


Map of the island

Location within the archipelago[edit]

Qaarsorsuaq Island is located in the outer belt of islands in the Upernavik Archipelago, in the group between the Upernavik Icefjord in the north, and Nunavik Peninsula in the south, approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) to the southeast of Upernavik town, from which it is separated by the smaller Akia Island.[3]

In the north, the Torsuut strait separates it from Atilissuaq Island, and several skerries. In the northeast, small, low islands of Tapeq, Qeqertat, and Nunaa separate the island from the larger Aappilattoq Island, home to the Aappilattoq settlement. In the east and southeast, Qaarsorsuaq Island is separated from the large Nutaarmiut Island by the Akornat Strait.[3]


The island has a complicated shoreline, with several small bay and inlet indentiations. The largest inlet is the Saqqarsuaq Fjord in the south.[3]


Aerial view of the cliff of Apparsuit (central-southern cape), jutting into Akornat Strait

Due to the complicated shoreline the island has a number of promontories, some of which bear identical names, such as Qoornoq and Apparsuit.[3] The names: rock surface and rock fall (or rock wall), respectively, refer to the landform shapes of the promontories, and are very common in the archipelago.

Name Direction Latitude N Longitude W
Naujannguaq Northern Cape 72°46′57″ 55°43′15″
Qoornoq (north) Eastern Cape 72°44′34″ 55°38′41″
Qoornoq (south) Southeastern Cape 72°40′46″ 55°45′00″
Apparsuit (Akornat Strait) Central-southern Cape 72°39′24″ 55°52′55″
Qaarsoq Southern Cape 72°38′55″ 56°01′46″
Inngia Southwestern Cape 72°39′45″ 56°08′46″
Apparsuit (Baffin Bay) Western Cape 72°42′15″ 56°10′52″


The island is mountainous throughout, with several distinct summits. The highest point on the island is the summit of the Sandersons Hope mountain in the western part of the island, at 1,042 m (3,418.6 ft).[3] Via a small isthmus in the north, the island is connected with an otherwise standalone mountain, the flooded peak of Umiasussuk,[3] the trapezoid shape of which is the landmark of Upernavik town, visible from the Upernavik Airport and the entire eastern and northern coast of Upernavik Island.


Aerial view of the Itillersuaq valley in the interior of the island

There are two significant valleys on the island. Saqqarsuup Itillia (old spelling: Sarqarssûp itivdlia) dissects the eastern part of the island into two separate massifs, the southern topping at a 910 m (2,990 ft) peak, and the northern topping at 470 m (1,540 ft) peak, to the east of the Umiasussuk mountain. The valley holds a small lake of the same name.[3]

The southwestern coast is home to several small lakes, most of which are in the north-south oriented Itillersuaq (old spelling: Itivdlerssuaq) valley, through which leads a walking trail.[3] The name of the valley means "a crossing point between two fjords" in the Greenlandic language.


  1. ^ a b c "Island Directory". United Nations Environment Programme. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "TIL OPPLYSNING". Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Upernavik, Saga Map, Tage Schjøtt, 1992