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Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Rewriting the history books: Why the Vikings left Greenland

Credit: Lake 578 in southern Greenland, where the research was conducted; photo by Raymond Bradley
Increasing aridity contributed to the Norse abandonment of settlements in the 15th century

One of the great mysteries of late medieval history is why the Norse, who established successful settlements in southern Greenland in 985, abandoned them in the early 15th century.

The consensus view has long been that the colder temperatures of the Little Ice Age helped make the colonies unsustainable. However, new research, led by scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and published in Science Advances, upends that theory. It wasn't dropping temperatures that helped drive the Norse from Greenland, but drought. The research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

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