An early Holocene Greenland whale from Melville Bugt, Greenland

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Radiocarbon age determination of a Greenland whale (Balaena mysticetus) vertebra from Melville Bugt in northwestern Greenland yields an age of 9259-8989 cal yr BP. The margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet in Melville Bugt was situated behind its AD 1950-2000 position in the early Holocene, at a similar position to that being reached following rapid retreat in recent years. Such an early deglaciation of areas close to the Greenland Ice Sheet is unusual. This probably reflects the unique glaciological setting resulting from the narrow fringe of ice-free islands and peninsulas and offshore waters with deep areas that characterize this part of Greenland. The timing of Greenland Ice Sheet retreat to its present margin varies significantly around Greenland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-76
Number of pages5
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • Balaena mysticetus
  • Bowhead
  • Greenland
  • Greenland whale
  • Holocene

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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