With an area of 2 200 000 km2 Greenland is the largest island in the world. The northernmost point, Kap Morris Jesup, reaches 83°40'N, while the southern tip, Kap Farvel, lies 2700 km to the south at 59°45'N. At present 80% of the land area is covered by the Inland Ice filling up a depression extending to approximately 250 m below sea level. The ice-free land makes up a mountainous rim, up to 300 km wide and 3700 m high, bordering on a coastal shelf which attains its maximum width of 300 km off the coast of northeast Greenland.
Earlier reviews of the Quaternary geology of Greenland include works by Weidick (1975a, 1976a). Since their appearance, much new knowledge has been gained, not only by “traditional” studies in the ice-free land, but also by geophysical work on the coastal shelves and on the Inland Ice. These chapters combine, and as far as presently possible, synthesize knowledge gained from these widely different fields of study.
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The three major sections of this volume include six chapters describing the regional Quaternary geology of Canada, two describing the Quaternary geology and climatic history of Greenland, and six that review applied Quaternary geology in Canada, including chapters on paleobotanical analysis, geodynamics, geomorphic processes, terrain geochemistry, Quaternary resources, and the influence of the Quaternary on the present environment. Of the five accompanying plates, three depict eleven stages of Quaternary paleogeographic change between 18,000 B.P. and 5,000 B.P.; one depicts the retreat of the ice from between 18,000 B.P. and the Recent; and another reviews the status of Quaternary geologic mapping in Canada, with an extensive bibliography on the back.