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Land and Resources

Greenland consists of an interior ice-covered plateau surrounded by a mountainous, generally ice-free, rim. The interior ice cap varies in thickness, measuring 3,000 m (9,800 ft) in the center of the island. Underneath the ice cover are the ancient rocks of the Greenland Shield, which is geologically related to the Canadian Shield. The greatest heights of land are along the eastern coast, where the extreme elevation is Gunnbjorn Fjeld (about 3,700 m/ 12,000 ft). Drainage is afforded mainly by the so-called ice fjords, in which glaciers from the ice caps pass through valleys to the sea, where they form thousands of icebergs each year. The climate is extremely cold, but during the short summer in the south the mean temperature is 9 C (48 F). The mammals of Greenland are more American than European, and include the musk-ox, wolf, lemming, and reindeer. The varieties of seal and whale, and most of the species of fish and seabirds, are also American rather than European. Circumpolar animals, such as the polar bear, arctic fox, polar hare, and stoat, are also found.

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