Frozen Arctic coastlines in western Greenland are not easy to access. For German photographer Olaf Otto Becker, the frigid Ilulissat Icefjord was a visit that morphed into a years-long project for fourteen subsequent voyages capturing monumental glaciers calving and crumbling into the ocean. “Every day, enormous thundering hordes of ice break into the sea, gradually raising the sea level but continuously,” he recounts. He captured these stunning views in his Broken Line series, which features pictures from Ilulissat to Melvillebay Remote Area.
On PetaPixel, Becker describes his arduous treks—which included being knocked into the water by an iceberg that fractured a rib and caused a concussion—in great detail, including their significance:
“Nuugaatsiaq, Greenland is in ruins. Miles-long avalanches of debris were triggered by an unprecedented wave that hit the village last week and washed away houses to sea like they were made out of paper cups at a party filled with children playing too closely together before someone trips over them all while running for cover under their mother’s watchful eye only moments ago.
The melting permafrost has led scientists to predict imminent geological disasters such as rockfalls which can do untold amounts of harm not just near but across entire regions! The coastline will rise significantly due to both meltwater from ice sheets atop mountains throughout Scandinavia (where this area lies) AND ocean expansion causing many low lying areas.”