Carli and Emily arrived in Kangerlussuaq (a former U.S. military base) in the afternoon of the 30th of July and were reunited with our photojournalist Mindy. We were fortunate enough to have made some contacts with Air Greenland employees and Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS) who helped us gather our equipment (which was being held in cargo) and connected us with someone who was willing to rent us his car later in the week. As we had no mode of transportation for the first several days (and the ice field was located ~45km away from the town center!), we first sampled a glacial drainage tributary that ran through town and into the sea, which was primarily fed by glacial melt (we were assisted by George Roth, a master’s student working with Prof. Sutherland at the University of Oregon, while he waited for his flight back to the U.S. after completing his own fieldwork).
The next day we collected several samples along the length of the channel and made our way to the harbor in order to collect some samples for isotope comparison to the samples we planned on collecting at the margin of the ice sheet.
When we finally secured a truck for our disposal Mindy fearlessly drove us on a very poorly maintained road in search of the ice and we located where a channel coming directly from glacial outflow met the river we had been sampling and collected our first sample of the day there. With malfunctioning filter equipment and a high sediment load, we spent the better half of the day gathering water from this site but were determined to go further in order to collect our first subglacial melt sample in close proximity to the Russell Glacier. When we came around a bend in the road and finally laid our eyes on the terminus of the Russell Glacier and located a sampling site we were pretty happy!
Back at the hostel (late in the evening) we began a long night of processing the bounty we had collected over the course of the day but felt quite rejuvenated because we finally achieved the samples we had initially set out for just in time for Sarah Aciego’s arrival the following day.