Black and Bloom

Tom Gribbins Blog

Tom is a first year geography undergraduate at Bristol who received a Royal Geographical Society fieldwork prize to join the team. Here are his words and pictures.

Two weeks on an ice sheet is an experience I won’t forget any time soon! Despite efforts in Kangerlussuaq to remind me otherwise, the surface isn’t ice cube smooth as I imagined.  ‘Lunar’ is definitely the best way to describe the view to the horizon.

By Day 2 we had the lab tent up and running (our workplace for the next 2 weeks!), with the very latest in ergonomic furniture.

The average day was spent sampling in the morning with Chris and Ewa, which meant sawing ice from different locations into ‘whirlpack’ bags. For most of the work, ice samples had to be melted before analysis. For this a goldilocks approach was essential. Melt the ice too quick and the biota might not survive the temperature change, too slow and we would be up all night! Over the course of the first week we fine-tuned a melt system, with suspended samples under bin bags working well.

24 hour daylight meant we didn’t have to stop work in the evening (perfect for Chris who has a bit of a love affair with ‘Pamela’ his phytopam).

The long daylight hours were great for exploring after the work was done for the day. Following a supraglacial stream meant we got to see what life was like outside ‘The Pixel’, finding icy overhangs, lakes and what looked like some very high biomass ice.

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