University of Wisconsin–Madison

Glacial geology at the edge: Greenland 2009

by Anders Carlson

During the summer 0f 2009  six graduate students (Kallina Dunkle, Elizabeth “Lisa” Colville, Andrew Leaf, Ian Orland, David Ullman, and Kelsey Winsor) and I traveled to Kangerlussuaq located ~20 km from the west Greenland Ice Sheet margin.

Students at the Greenland Ice Sheet margin
Graduate students at the Greenland Ice Sheet margin

For the first two days, we acclimatized ourselves to the dry air and constant sunlight while examining the type locality for much of the glacial geology of western Greenland. We then headed inland, trekking the 20 km with full packs to the Greenland ice margin where we stayed for six days.

We studied ice margin sedimentation with an excellent exposed ice cliff that allowed viewing of the glacier bed. Another excellent feature of the region was the bottom of a recently drained ice-marginal lake.

All told, we covered ~180 km in nine days, most of it with full packs and no trails. Given the exertion, we were grateful to relax at the end with musk ox roast and reindeer steaks before sojourning to Copenhagen for an evening.

Originally published in The Outcrop for 2009, UW-Madison Department of Geoscience, p. 21.