Helicopter Safari for Rocks
ILULISSAT, GREENLAND– We were there for their first day of scouting near Kangerlussuaq, and had the chance to tag along with scientists Tom Neumann and Paul Bierman again on their last day of science in Greenland, recording this video dispatch.
We traveled by helicopter from Ilulissat to five different sites along the ice sheet edge to collect rocks that came from under the ice sheet. (Once I got the hang of it I collected a few as well, doing my part for science.) In total, the team collected 300 rocks for their research project, about 650 pounds worth.
They’ll ship the rocks back to their lab at the University of Vermont, grind them up to separate the quartz, and send the extracted crystals for analysis at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs. If all goes well, the analysis will reveal the last time the rocks were exposed to cosmic rays from the sun, which would be the last time that the ice sheet was missing from that region of Greenland. (Video by Lisa Strong-Aufhauser.)
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