Greenland is the most amazing place I have ever visited, and one that not many people will ever get the opportunity to experience. With freezing cold winters, there is just a short time in the summer when parts of Greenland are warm enough to explore, revealing the beautiful landscapes beneath the snow.
I was one of ten Earth Science students from Edinburgh to spend two and a half weeks on this expedition, conducting geological fieldwork in three separate areas of the Gardar Province in Southern Greenland. This area was chosen because of its particularly interesting and extremely rare world-class rocks and minerals. First we worked in pairs conducting detailed geological mapping of high carbonate content lavas, pyroclastic flows and the surrounding sandstones. Secondly we produced sedimentary logs of an exposure of sandstone which could be interpreted to show us how the environment had changed over time in terms of sea level and climate. The third area we investigated was around a uranium mine, where we searched the till heaps to find rare minerals such as Tugtupite, which is only found at two other localities on Earth.
There were no roads in the areas we were working in, so our means of transport consisted of boats across the fjords and hiking. With rucksacks weighing around 25Kg, and distances of up to 25Km/day over hilly, sometimes snow-covered ground it was, at times, quite hard-going! We were carrying all our camping equipment, lots of warm clothing, geology kit, plus enough food for 10 people for 10 days – no small amount…
We wild camped in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world;
had campfires overlooking fjords filled with icebergs;
hiked around the snout of a glacier;
and saw the Greenlandic Ice Sheet at sunrise (4am) from the top of a freezing cold mountain.
Having the opportunity to do these incredible things with some of your best friends was a fantastic thing to be able to do before we all graduated and went our separate ways.
This was a very ambitious project and required huge amounts of planning and preparation to get to and stay in the wild at this remote location. The expedition would not have been possible without a lot of help. Thanks to the PGAF, the University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences, the Laidlaw-Hall Trust, The Scottish Arctic Club, Cotswolds and the Edinburgh Shortbread House for their support, funding and equipment, and to both the Blue Ice Café and the Narsaq Hotel in Greenland for their invaluable local knowledge and assistance when we arrived.
Check out our Blog for more photos and videos of our time in Greenland!