Sun, snow, and sledging

Our lift to the site!
Our lift to the site!

Today we started the GPR recordings! Fortunately, we managed to catch a ride to our site on the back of a skidoo on loan from the station. It made the 10km hike much easier, especially with the GPR’s heavy batteries and sensors. The weather in the valley was a tropical -6 degrees and sunny – ideal for a day of GPRing.

Our first transect from the glacier snout
Our first transect from the glacier snout

After our site recce day, we marked out our transect across the foreland and got going. The GPR needs to be kept warm, so we wrapped him in an emergency shelter every few hours so that the console and sensors could warm up. In total we took around 400 m of data from the glacier snout to the point at which the stream becomes a steep bedrock gorge. We also took some transects across the main data line, so that we can (hopefully) build up a good picture of changes in permafrost characteristics across the foreland, as well as with distance from the ice margin. It seems like we picked up a nice data set – some data processing back in the UK will tell us more…

GPR working away!
GPR working away!

At the end of the day, Akaar from the station came back to pick us up and took us on a very exciting trip home. When the route around the ice cap is long, what do you do? Go over it of course! We got some great views of the ice cap and the outlet glaciers, and were able to look down into the valleys and on top of the flood basalt plateaux. It was spectacular! The snow picks out the topography so well. On the way back down the other side, towards Arctic Station, Akaar took us down some of the ski slopes and through a steep and winding gorge – it was very James Bond style! We finally arrived back at base, with very icy feet and hands, and icicles on our faces. Faceicles. After a long, successful day of data collection we cooked up some fish finger butties to celebrate!

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