An Expedition to Gardar Province, Greenland — Jenny Ridout

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In June 2015 I was privileged to be part of a ten students from the School of Geosciences who went to the south of Greenland on a geological expedition. Southern Greenland is an incredibly unique place, especially geologically. Our desire to go to Greenland was that, as final year geoscience students we wanted a chance to be able to put our hard attained skills into a new context. After several weeks of reading up on the geology of southern Greenland we decided on a location for our field work, and the objective – to make a geological map that was more detailed than the existing geological map of the area. We also were particularly interested in seeing a rare type of rock called carbonitite that only forms in unique geological conditions, and in Greenland the carbonitites are 1.3 million years old.

Our fieldwork in Greenland involved ten days of trekking and mapping, which meant we had to be self sufficient for this time. Never have I carried so heavy a backpack! Fortunately the views were stunning and a pleasant distraction from the weight on my back. Our geological mapping days went really well, and we even discovered a few things that we didn’t understand but were able to document to take back to the department.

After the fieldwork we took a boat down to the town of Narsaq where we spent a few days. We experienced the local Greenlandic hospitality and were able to join in the Greenlandic Day celebrations. We also went to visit an old uranium mine, which has been mined extensively for a rare gemstone called Tugtopite. It was very interesting to see this mine and we even managed to find some sample of many rare rocks!

The trip could not have been possible without the funds from the PGAF, the School of Geosciences, the Laid-law Hall Trust and The Scottish Artic Club. I am extremely grateful for the chance I had to travel to such a unique location and to see such rare geology. It is a trip I will never forget! If you want to see more of the expedition check out the group blog at: https://gardar2015.wordpress.com/

Jenny Ridout

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