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KANGERLUSSUAQ, GREENLAND– Today Kaitlin Keegan, a first year PhD student at Dartmouth College, and my field assistant, and I flew from Scotia, NY, to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, our first stop on the way up to the Danish deep drilling camp, NEEM. This is my sixth time to Greenland, and Kaitlin’s first. Along the way, we met up with Vas Petrenko and Anais Orsi, who are also heading up to NEEM. Vas will be working with us on the shallow core we are helping with, and Anais will be helping with the core processing at the deep drilling site. This is my first time to NEEM, so I am excited right along with Kaitlin.

In Kanger, Kaitlin got an excellent introduction to Greenland—we caught a ride with the NEEM camp manager up to the edge of the ice sheet. The area we went to was Russell Glacier, one of my favorite spots. There, a 40 foot wall of ice calves off into the Watson River below. Volkswagen-sized ice chunks churn in the silty water and are carried down the river. Since it is July, the glacier is calving all the time, and the river is flowing fast.

Vas Petrenko hikes near Russell Glacier.

Tunnel of ice near Russell Glacier.

On the way back into town from the glacier, we saw two musk oxen close to the road. The flowers are in bloom, and Greenland really is green for a bit. It’s a great introduction to Greenland for Kaitlin’s first day.

Musk ox near ice edge.

It seems we will now be delayed in Kanger for a bit before we can fly up to camp…not due to storms, but due to the temperatures being too warm! When the snow gets warm enough (it’s -5 deg C or 23 deg F up at camp…really, really warm for polar work) the Hercules aircraft (ski-equipped LC-130’s) we fly in have a hard time getting enough speed to take off on the skiway, or snow runway, up at camp. Sometimes, this means the pilots have to use JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off), which is basically rockets attached to the side of the plane which are fired to give the plane extra lift. We’ll see if that’s what it takes for the plane to take off at NEEM!

Greenland is green! Flowers near Lake Ferguson in Kangerlussuaq.
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2 Responses »

  1. Zoe –
    Great to see Greenland again – at least in photos. Loved the ice tunnel shot. And those flowers – fireweed is one common name – were in bloom when we were in Kanger last year. Now looking forward to hearing about NEEM. Hope you get up there soon.


  2. Hi Zoe!
    Fun to read fresh icestories from you again, even if its very hot temperatur up there! almost like summer in norht of Norway!
    This seems to be a bit different from high iceplateu in Antarctica?
    Keep up your good work and good luck!