Sunday, August 25, 2013

Final Field Excursion

Sunday, July 28.

Today is our final day aboard the Stalbas.  We made two major stops, one at Skansbukta, one at Nordenskioldbreen (the o should have two dots over it -- I am not impressed with your limited language symbols, blogspot!).

We disembarked early at Skansbukta, the lovely place at which we dropped anchor last night.

This area was last used for mining.  There is a law in Svalbard (of which I can find no reference, so you'll just have to take me at my word) wherein if something remains untouched for a period of six years, it becomes protected in the way that a historical landmark would.  Thankfully, there aren't too many people interested in leaving trash heaps around in Svalbard.  Instead you get cool things like really old school ice breakers:

Or mining tunnels that everyone wants to look inside:

All of this made Yuribia feel very zen.

We didn't spend too much time at Skansbukta.  Before long, we were packed back onto the Stalbas and passing Pyramiden.

This Russian settlement was completely abandoned in 1998.  It is reportedly picking back up to host the tourism industry (which is booming in Svalbard).  Inside this settlement, you can find the world's most northern statue of Lenin.

We parked the Stalbas out in front of Nordenskioldbreen, and you will now have to observe many, many pictures of the glacier.  If I haven't mentioned it before, breen is Norwegian for glacier.

Look close for the laguna in this next picture (where much of the meltwater comes pouring out).

We zoomed into the beach, and took off on a walk.

On this walk, I was finally able to put real world examples on concepts that I have been learning about for months.

First major milestone.  A roche moutonnee!

This is the landform of bedrock and sediment in the right side of the picture.  A roche moutonnee forms parallel to the direction of ice flow.  It is differentiated from a drumlin in that it is (A) not usually entirely composed of till, but often has major components of rock, and (B) it forms with it's fat side (or non-streamlined side, if you prefer) facing away from incoming ice flow.

First one I'd ever seen.  Hence, pose time.

Sighting #2.  Crag and Tail!!

Mikkel and Jon for scale.  This landform is also streamlined (looks like a tadpole in plan view) -- it is typically comprised of a rind of sediment and bedrock core.

I primarily see these types of landforms as bathymetric images.  I cannot put my hands on them.  Though I have been in my thesis area, I did not have the proper equipment to hop off the R/V Araon and swim down to the bottom of Bombardier Bay and study all those cool looking features down there.  I might've considered trying (despite total lack of equipment, like submarines...), but the Larsen A has an awful lot of fast ice covering all entry points....

I digress!

More Nordenskiold!

Me for scale:

UH for scale!


There is only one way to really end an amazing experience like this.

You have to get closer.

And then everyone will want to join!


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