Landscape & Wildlife
The municipal authority stretches so far up and down the coast that climatic differences can be seen: from the southern district up to Upernavik Ice Fjord the climate is low arctic, which results in a much richer vegetation, with even trees several metres high in some places. When you cross Upernavik Ice Fjord going north, you enter the high arctic climate belt: the vegetation becomes very sparse and much of what you see is bare cliffs with no vegetation. The locals make great use of crowberries, which can be found throughout the municipal authority in August and September.
However, the inhabitants make far greater use of animal life:
On land in the southern district there are musk oxen, reindeer, hares and foxes, which, despite the fact that the entire municipal authority is composed of islands of varying sizes, are able to cross between the islands in winter. The bird life on land is composed of ravens and grouse, species that overwinter. When spring comes, one of the first birds to arrive is the snow bunting, which overwinters on the American continent. The snow bunting is soon joined by various gulls, and the birdlife in summer on dry land is composed of many birds such as the wheatear and the Lapland bunting.
Over the sea there is a far richer variety of birdlife: apart from various species of gull there are eider ducks, black guillemots, guillemots, puffins, little auks and occasionally great northern divers. The sea is also home for the creatures that for thousands of years have formed the life foundation for the hunter culture: ringed seals, harp seals, hooded seals, bearded seals and walruses are the most important seal species, all of which can be seen in summer if you go out to sea. As far as whales are concerned, it is mainly the smaller narwhals and beluga whales that can be seen, in spring and autumn respectively. The larger whale species such as lesser rorquals and fin whales are less common summer visitors so far north, though killer whales appear every summer.
Many people hope to see polar bears, and these can sometimes be seen within the municipal authority.
As well as mammals there are of course a great many fish: catfish, grenadiers, Norway haddock, Greenland halibut, fjord cod , sea scorpions, torsk, rays and the omnivorous Greenland shark. In some rivers and lakes it is also possible to come across trout, which is delicious to eat and a favourite catch for many anglers.
The district's mountains are mainly formed of gneiss and the volcanic rocks of granite and syenite. In several places the gneiss is strongly folded and varied in colour. The steep cliff walls that form breeding grounds for birds are volcanic rock. In the southern part of the district, basalt is dominant; some places have distinctive basalt column formations. Garnets can be found at several locations in the district.