Proper planning and plentiful pudding prevents poor project performance

Kathryn getting ready to head out!
Kathryn getting ready to head out!

Day 1 of the Geo-CAICS project and we have been busy making plans for our fieldwork – selecting our field sites and mapping out our intended route. We have chosen several outlet glaciers from the ice caps closest to Zackenberg, these are all within a short walking distance (c. 20 km or so). We intend to map the present-day ice limits, landforms within the glacial forelands (the area in front of the ice), and the planform (birds-eye view) of meltwater streams draining the ice caps. We also intend to take sediment samples to determine the kind of material that has been deposited by the ice and meltwater streams. In total, we plan to analyse seven or eight sites during our three-week stay. Of course, this will depend on weather conditions and the time that it takes to walk to each of the sites.

Part of Zackenberg research station!
Part of Zackenberg research station!

First up, we intend to visit the smallest ice cap in our study. We chose to tackle this one first as it is closest to Zackenberg, and gives us a good opportunity to get used to the terrain without venturing too far from the safety of base camp. We have spent the day checking over the aerial photos and maps so that we can be sure to identify the most suitable route. The other researchers at Zackenberg have also been very helpful in passing on any tips for the optimum walking routes – avoiding large meltwater rivers and boggy areas. We intend to head out in the morning and try to cpmplete our work at this field site within 24 hours. The 24-hour sunlight means that we will be able to work long days, and this will mean that we can avoid camping for lengthy periods of time. While we have been around camp today, we have sampled more of Dina’s culinary delights. We had a lovely lunch of roast pork and vegetables followed by some wonderful apple cake!

Hard at work in the station
Hard at work in the station

We spent the afternoon doing some more reading about the ice caps and meltwater streams in East Greenland, and the Arctic region more generally so that we can head out with some important ideas to test out in the field.

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