First week at Zackenberg

Our arrival to Greenland was quite spectacular: clear skies during the flight from Akureyri offered stunning views of glaciers and floating icebergs.

After a quick refueling at Constable Point and another brief stop at Daneborg (the marine science station connected to Zackenberg Research Station), we arrived safe and sound at our home for the coming three weeks. A warm welcome and introduction to the station by the leading scientist and safety training (how to successfully convince a polar bear of the fact that we’re not edible) followed, including a shooting practice (in case the bear is not entirely convinced) organized by the logistical support staff. Then we visited the thermokarst gully close to camp, one of our targeted study sites.

The following days were divided between collecting water samples of the various streams, rivers and Young Sound, late-night filtering and thermokarst soil sampling.

During this first week we carried a total of 175L of pristine water on our backs, providing material for the wide suite of biogeochemical analyses we plan to conduct after this expedition. Additionally, we gathered samples from soil profiles in the thermokarst gully and sampled some of the deposited mud at the bottom of the gully. Due to the prevailing dry conditions in the area, many of the smaller streams have run dry and there is currently no flow of mud within the thermokarst features. We keep our fingers crossed for a proper rain event to flush out some of the material at some point during our stay here…

On Saturday, we were invited by the Marine Basis team and the Sirius patrol at Daneborg to a periglacial “beach party” – a well-deserved break of all that hard work. So far, we’re quite happy with our progress, all going according to (many times revised) plan!

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