Sunday, September 12, 2010

A fall trip to Greenland

We're back in Greenland for a fall trip. The main reason for the trip is to maintain cameras and GPS stations and help them be ready for the long winter. First, Mark and I went to Ilulissat, where we study Jakobshavn Isbrae, one of the largest and fastest glaciers in the world. The weather was not great on the ice, so I don't have many photos. But here is a view of the town of Ilulissat ('City of Icebergs'). The large ice bergs in the background are grounded on a sill, which is an old moraine left behind from an icier time.

After that we left for Nuuk and Kangiata Nunata Sermia. We measured velocities at the front of this tidewater glacier by repeat-surveying of targets that were deployed by helicopter. We're used to have 24 hours of daylight when working in Greenland, but now it is late enough that it gets dark again.

Part of the work involved flying up to the ice to retrieve and service GPS stations that we deployed in April.
A look up the glacier. The faster flowing river of ice stands out clearly.

And a look out the glacier into the fjord. This is the area where Nansen arrived after the first crossing of the ice sheet. He must have been happy to see these mountains!

The front of the glacier seen from our camp:

The area around the glacier and the fjord is beautiful. Caribous also like it:

The benefit of night is the return of the aurora. We had several night of beautiful displays and also enjoyed looking at the stars, so far away from all light pollution.