Little Kiska Island – You Have To Know



Little Kiska Island


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The small little kiska Islandoff the eastern coast of Greenland is a place of immense natural beauty. Once an uninhabited landmass, it was discovered by Europeans in the late 18th century and named after Chief Kiska of the Thule people. Now, Little Kiska Island is a popular tourist destination, thanks to its stunning scenery and rich biodiversity. With glaciers, icebergs, and tall peaks towering above the landscape, it is no wonder that it has been named one of the world’s ten most beautiful islands.

Little Kiska Island


Little Kiska Island first came into European contact in the late 18th century, when Danish explorer Vitus Bering discovered it while looking for a route to China. He named the island after Chief Kiska of the Thule people, who had ruled over it at that time.

In 1870, Danish cartographer Rasmus Bartholin mapped Little Kiska and other small Greenlandic islands and charted their topography. The first permanent settlements on Little Kiska were established by Inuit hunters in the early 20th century. Nowadays, it is home to about 120 people.

Mapped by Bartholin in 1775, and surveyed again in the 1830s, March 1878 and 1903-05 under US auspices.

By Christensen (1 Jan 2009) – see De La Motte Island for earlier historical maps of this island from a variety of sources including British Admiralty charts an 1800’s colonial era UK hydrographic survey map which show it repeatedly . The period following that early visit provided relatively little information about Little Kiska until 19th century American scientific expeditions studied Greenland were sent to study her ice sheet & fauna with ZR Davis in 1879 & WW Bishop in 1914. The latter study led to the naming of the island after Kiska, an Inuit tribe mentioned in Hudson’s Genus Alsea text.



The climate on Little Kiska is very cold, with average temperatures ranging from -10 degrees Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius. There is also a lot of snowfall here, which means that the island can be completely blocked off for long periods of time. The climate is therefore great for research on the effects that cold temperatures and snow cover have, however it has its drawbacks by prohibiting all forms of movement on the island. Because no one can get to Kiska Island there cannot be any people living here, which adds an element of isolation to this location.

Natural resources

Agriculture and Natural Resources

The main natural resource in Little Kiska are ice crystals found inside water droplets when they gather together at the condensation points known as orographic fog puddles (see figure). These “fog” particles start growing around Noon & South winds and grow up until it forms a big, fuzzy patch. Because of these fog particles and their high levels of hygroscopicity (attracting water molecules), Little Kiska is an excellent spot for conducting research on orography as well as other atmospheric ice crystals such as alpha-helalofluori dioxide ice crystal clusters & aerosol which are both present throughout the year.


Little Kiska is home to a few Inuit families who have lived on the island for generations. It is not clear when or how the island got its name, but it seems likely that it was named after an Inuit tribe mentioned in Hudson’s Genus Alsea text. There are no permanent buildings on Little Kiska, and researchers must live in tents while they conduct their research. It is also unclear what future plans there may be for this isolated location, as no one knows for sure whether residents will ever want to leave or if it will remain an exclusively scientific outpost. Kiska is located within the Strait of Magellan where it separates Chile and Argentina on its north western coast.



Little Kiska is located within the Chilean Naval Base Esperanza which has jurisdiction over the island. The Peruvian Navy also maintains a military base on nearby Isla Navarino.

Government services

Government services

Little Kiska is not part of any Chilean or Peruvian territory, so there are no government services available. Researchers must provide their own food, water, and shelter while they are on the island.


The story of little Kiska island is a tale of hope and resilience. After being hit hard by the 2013 tsunami, the tiny island was almost lost forever. But a small group of locals, led by local schoolteacher Hironobu Sakamoto, rallied together to rebuild the island. With the help of local volunteers and donations from across the world, they succeeded in restoring the island to its former glory. In this blog post, we discuss what went into their successful restoration and share some photos from the project!


What Is Little Kiska Island?

Little Kiska Island is a small island off the eastern coast of Greenland. It was discovered by Europeans in the late 18th century and named after Chief Kiska of the Thule people. Today, it is a popular tourist destination thanks to its stunning scenery and rich biodiversity. With glaciers, icebergs, and tall peaks towering above the landscape, it has been named one of the world’s ten most beautiful islands!

How Did Little Kiska Get Hit So Hard By The 2013 Tsunami?

Like many other places in the world, Little Kiska’s coastline was significantly destroyed by a tsunami following a major earthquake. In addition to effects on its infrastructure, the surging water also stripped much of Little Kiska’s land bare and reduced some settlements there to ruins!

What Were Residents’ Responses After Their Island Got Hit Hard?

Following such enormous destruction in 2013, it seemed almost like little could be done for one tiny parcel of remote terrain — so people lay low initially and waited for something else to happen before they worked again on rebuilding their homes from scratch… but that did not last long at all! Inspired by the determination of local volunteers, residents were determined to rebuild their homes as best they could.

How Did Little Kiska Manage To Bounce Back?

What makes the Little Kiska story so inspiring is that despite all of the challenges and difficulties, these resilient islanders managed to rebuild their homes and communities in a very short period of time. In just over three years following the earthquake, most houses had been rebuilt or were under reconstruction. Through mutual support and determination, locals regained control over their lives and returned to entrepreneurship as well as developing new sources of income such as ecotourism.

How Do Things Change When A Natural Disaster Impacts An Entire Island?

When an entire island is impacted by a natural disaster, the social, economic and psychological implications are far-reaching. For example, islands typically have smaller populations and are less developed than mainland areas. This means that for Islanders who have to leave their homes and face new challenges in rebuilding their lives, the sense of isolation can be even greater. In addition, any resources or support that were previously available on the island may now be limited or unavailable due to damage caused by the earthquake.

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