I’m sitting on my porch enjoying a warm summer day and realizing that next week I’ll be in Scoresby Sund, east Greenland conducting fieldwork. It is a little surreal to think that in a mere 10 days I’ll be sleeping in a tent right next to the Greenland Ice Sheet, most likely donning my down jacket and rain gear and not wearing flip flops, tee-shirt and shorts! I’m feeling especially grateful (and lucky!) this summer because I have two field seasons in Greenland. Some people have only one chance to visit Greenland, but this will be my fourth visit in just over 2 years. Even though it is for fieldwork and not a vacation, I still look forward to these trips. We work incredibly long hours in the field (thanks to the Arctic midnight sun)- hiking across ice caps with heavy packs, collecting boulder samples, extracting lake sediment cores from a raft- sometimes eating dinner after 10pm. Despite the long days, it is a rejuvenating experience. Every time I go out into the field, I remember why I became a geologist in the first place: amazing vistas, glaciers, beautiful fjords filled with icebergs, the soundscape of nature, exploring places where very few people will ever get to travel, and the ability to eat Snickers bars at 9:30 am 🙂
My fieldwork started in July when I spent 2 weeks in Kangerlussuaq, western Greenland. While there I helped with preparations for the IGERT field seminar, conducted some outreach with high school students from Denmark, Greenland and the U.S., and also conducted some field research of my own.
After an all too short 3 weeks home in Hanover, NH, I’m preparing to go to eastern Greenland next week. We travel to remote eastern Greenland to study the small ice caps and mountain glaciers there. We study how they’ve changed during the past 12,000 years, to learn more about how glaciers and ice caps may change in the future.
Below is a map of the numerous flights we take to get there. First we drive to Boston. Then we fly to Keflavik airport near Reykjavik, Iceland. There we board a smaller plane and fly to Akureyri, Iceland. Akureyri is our last chance to buy anything we may need for our field season, like the all important cheese for our lunches and dinners. From Akureyri we take an even smaller plane to Constable Point, in Scoresby Sund eastern Greenland.
We have gear and food stored at Constable Point and as soon as we arrive, we start sorting through gear and re-packaging everything for the field.
Then, the real excitement starts as we take a helicopter from Constable Point to our first field site, Graben Land. When I return in early September, I’ll post some photos of this year’s field season. In the meantime, here is a link to a short video describing how we got home last year. Enjoy!