Coring and cricket

We’ve been at Tarfala Research Station for a week now, and making great progress with our sampling schedule! Unfortunately, the weather has well and truly called a halt to fieldwork due to rain/snow/hail/gale force winds, but we’re making the most of it by staying warm and dry and catching up with processing our ice surface sediment samples in the lab (and discovering just how smelly cryoconite is while drying in the oven!).

IMG_20170811_125457804
Cryoconite sampling on Isfallsglaciären

In addition to completing our sampling of the moraines and proglacial stream outlets, we also had a go at taking a sediment core from the bottom of one of Isfallsglaciären’s proglacial lakes. To do this we carried a dinghy from Tarfalasjön to Isfallssjön across multiple moraines, which turned out to be a seriously physical task! Coring proved to be much trickier than expected as the proglacial sediments are very fine and dense and the corer struggled to penetrate the sediments at the lake bottom. Although this was a disappointment, and we ended up having lunch in a bothy bag to shelter from the bad weather, taking the boat out on Isfallssjön was a a really fun experience… We’ll try again when the weather improves!

P1010628
Boating in Isfalls proglacial lake

We’re really glad that we decided to front-load our fieldwork schedule and have collected most of what we need, as the weather is really putting a spanner in the works at the moment. Good company and nightly saunas are going a long way to keeping spirits high! To end on a VERY positive note, following some cricket coaching from Nick and I (the only Brits at the station), Team Tarfala went on to win back the “Ashes” from Kebnekaise Mountain Station at the annual cricket match! HOWZAT?!!!

P1010631
Evening cricket practise… Tarfala style!
Advertisements

Let the sampling begin!…

After journeying from Plymouth by car, plane, bus, and helicopter, we arrived at Tarfala Research Station in Arctic Sweden on Monday 7th August (a very happy moment for me after a long three years since my last visit!). We were greeted by Tobbe and the station staff and immediately made to feel at home, and began our fieldwork on Monday afternoon by scoping out our field site on and around Isfallsglaciaren.

P1010529

We have begun our field campaign by collecting samples of cryoconite from the surface of Isfallsglaciaren, and taking sediment samples from the proglacial stream outlets, moraines, and fluted glacier forefield, for eventual analysis back in Plymouth. Isfallsglaciaren has retreated significantly over the past century, leaving behind a dynamic and very beautiful proglacial area, which makes fieldwork here a joy (even the rain couldn’t dampen spirits completely…)!

20626731_10100532978455939_1162783574090808102_o  P1010562

Processing the samples (drying and separating fine sediments) at the end of the day is a bit of a slow process with so many samples to get through, but we’re looking forward to more exciting field days ahead both on the glacier and when we take the boat onto Isfallssjon to take a sediment core from the proglacial lake. It’s been a great start to our visit so far, and we’re looking forward to the rest of our time here at Tarfala!

P1010556