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Diamond Hunters Stole Our Helicopter!

KANGERLUSSUAQ, GREENLAND– A Canadian resource exploration company, Hudson Resources Inc., has been searching for diamonds in Greenland for years. Unfortunately, they found some not far from Kangerlussuaq. This is a big problem for scientists who had planned on chartering helicopter time to conduct their research. There is only one helicopter in Kangerlussuaq this summer and it has been effectively grounded by the diamond company, leaving scientists and logistics coordinators to frantically rearrange their field plans.

We were scheduled to use the helicopter (for less than one hour!) to bring our field equipment into our study sites. Hudson Resources said NO (repeatedly) while the helicopter sat unused in the airport hangar for days at a time. Nobody is quite sure why Hudson was willing to pay to keep the helicopter grounded rather than letting scientists pick up part of the tab. The helicopter grounding has once again proven that flexibility is key to a successful field season in Greenland. Check out this video to see how we managed to get all our science and camp gear out to our sites.

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Thanks to Jonathan Nichols for the footage from our 2006 coring trip of the helicopter taking off from an ice-covered lake.

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9 Responses »

  1. those diabolical diamond bastards and their twisty mustaches! they’re evil, pure evil.

    but i’m glad the forces of good prevailed.

    have fun digging stuff up!


  2. billy

    it”s all about getting up in the morning, going to work, weaving your way through the obstacles, and solving problems. have fun with your research and make a difference.


  3. This is great. Tell it like it is.

  4. They know your true intentions…. discovering diamond plumes in Greenlandic lakes.

  5. Great little clip! Very funny when you looked back at the situation, I’m sure. Loved the humor. You have a good attitude! Live long and prosper. You have found the true “diamond in the rough”– as you live out your heart’s desire in beautiful places like that.

  6. Hi Billy,
    I am an oceanography student at Los Angeles Valley College in CA. I am very interested in your project and find it to be very fascinating. To help me better my understanding about your project, I was wondering if you could help answer my question. I understand that the alkenones are found in lake sediment cores but I wondered if the algae is spread out or is usually found in certain areas of the lake bottom?

    Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best of luck,

  7. Hi Arpine,

    The algae don’t live on the lake bottom. They actually float in the water, where they can use the sun’s energy for photosynthesis. So they float around in the lake water, presumably all the way down to the bottom of the photic zone (the depth to which there is enough sunlight for photosynthesis). When they die they sink to the lake bottom where they get preserved in the sediment. I have found the alkenones in mud from every spot on the lake bottom I have looked, but I haven’t done extensive surveys to determine if there are more alkenones in certain spots on the lake bottom.

    Since you are an oceanography student, you might be familiar with another alkenone producer from the ocean called Emiliania huxleyi. There are some great websites dedicated to this amazing alga.

    Thanks for your question!

  8. your adventures in paleoclimatology never cease to amaze…
    let me know if you ever need a field medic on one of your surveys ;)

  9. Marvelous reading! Damn shame about the transport. I am wondering if you encountered any biologists studying birds while you were there? I am working on a summer/fall summary of interesting bird reports for 2008 in Greenland and desperately seeking more good contacts! Many thanks, Ned Brinkley, editor, North American Birds journal