Thunderbirds are go!

The GPR is packed, our hammer and chisel are at the ready, it’s time to head to Greenland for round 2 of the SEDIGAP permafrost project. In April we had some technical difficulties with the GPR. After some fantastic assistance from the laboratory technicians at Queen Mary, and the technical expertise of Sensors and Software, the GPR has now been returned in full working order ready to complete the project. It has been a busy few weeks in the SEDIGAP camp. The majority of our field gear was shipped up to Qeqertarsuaq on 3rd July, and we have had a tense time waiting for the GPR to arrive from Canada.

At Copenhagen Airport, ready to go!
At Copenhagen Airport, ready to go!

Fortunately, it was delivered two days ago, just in time to make the 3 day journey from London to Disko. After a brief trial in Tim’s dining room, it all seems in tip top condition. We are very excited to get back to the site and investigate any changes in the permafrost since our last visit in the Winter, when all of the meltwater streams were entirely frozen over. This time, with the Summer melt underway, we are told that the landscape has been completely transformed. The river systems that we traversed in crampons in April, will now be in full flow, transferring meltwater from the ice front down towards Arctic Station and into the bay. We will be staying at Disko for 2 weeks, which gives us plenty of time to complete our GPR surveys, take sediment samples, and finalise our geomorphological maps.

View over the Greenland Ice Sheet
View over the Greenland Ice Sheet

We were fortunate enough today to gain seats in Business class (or Nanoq class as it is called in Greenlandic) on the Copenhagen- Kangerlussuaq leg of the journey (the seats worked out at the same price as Economy!) and have been enjoying the delights of: extra leg room, metal cutlery, glassware, noise cancelling headphones, hot towels, coffee top ups, and mini cinnamon muffins. It will be a last taste of luxury before two weeks of fieldwork. Today we made a brief stop at Kangerlussuaq, before taking a short internal flight to Aasiaat. Tim had a short snooze on the flight and dreamt that he looked out of the plane window to see a man dressed in a mammoth costume waving at him. It could have been a product of the large quantities of free coffee, sleep deprivation, or his love of all things Quaternary. Probably a mix of the three!

We have had a great evening in Aasiaat where we joined in a local party outside a café in the town, complete with live music and present giving ceremonies. After staying the night here we will take a boat to Qeqertarsuaq to our final stop at Arctic Station. We are looking forward to seeing the team again and meeting the other researchers. We will keep you posted on our progress…!

The local band playing some tunes in Aasiaat
The local band playing some tunes in Aasiaat

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