The third guest blog post from the Glacier in a Greenhouse team
We’ve now been here for three weeks, and everyone’s research is going well, with the team spending every day collecting data from our field site. We generally leave by 9am and don’t arrive back at camp until 6.30pm, so our days are fairly long, but always start and finish with a stunning drive through the mountains in our beloved Landy. By now, everyone is starting to get a little tired but we’re still ‘feeling the passion’ and making the most of this unexpected good weather.
We are now working on a 4 day week revolving around meals, starting with our favourite curry and ending up with an interesting concoction of corned beef, onions, baked beans and potatoes bound together with a hefty dose of Worcestershire sauce. Despite everyone initially being sceptical (to say the least) about food from a tin; providing you don’t look at it as it comes out the tin the taste is second to none..
One of the main occurrences of the last week was the decision of Will and Vic to camp out at the snout of the glacier. This enabled Will to capture the entire daily cycle of the glacier’s meltwater channel, by carrying out research late into the night. Having set up camp with a perfect view of the glacier, they settled down to watch the sunset with a gourmet meal of reconstituted ham, crackers and squeezy cheese.
Despite the night being a tad chilly (Will woke up at 05.30 to temperatures of around -2.5˚C and a stream almost entirely frozen over), this did provide us with a great opportunity to test the Landy’s heating capabilities to the full!
The same night, David and James were lucky enough to see the Northern lights. A clear sky and a chance look outside the tent meant David caught a glimpse of the green haze and they were both able to watch the lights develop and move across the night sky. However, having stayed up all night collecting data, Will and Vic still unfortunately managed to bed down for the night, just before the northern lights set in. Sadly despite being on northern light watch for the following few days, the lights didn’t show and we are still yet to see them in all their glory. There’s still hope though.
Having spent the best part of the last two and a half weeks collecting and analysing field data, we decided it was high time we took a little break in the evenings. So David our resident card dealer/magician set about teaching the girls how to play poker. Needless to say food gambling has now officially hit camp (the biggest loss so far has been a whole pot of peanut butter!)
Throughout the expedition our onsite expert Dr. Dave Evans has kept us both entertained and passionate. Dave’s expertise in the glacial environment and his in depth knowledge of the terrain has been invaluable. During the days Dave has been working on a glacial deposit, which despite at first glance looking distinctly similar to any other glacial deposit, is in fact apparently somewhat of a rare find! In the evenings, a mix of old school quotes, disgust of modern gadgets and an endless passion for the next day’s field work has been thoroughly enjoyed by the rest of the team.
Now that we have completed our intended research on Thorisjokull, we are relocating to the south east of the country to check out some of the outlet glaciers of Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest ice cap. Whilst we have loved our first few weeks, we are all now really looking forward to a change of scenery, and the chance to carry out research on some of the most renowned and spectacular glaciers this beautiful country has to offer.
Look out for our next blog to find out if we manage to collect all of our data, if the weather takes a turn for the worst and whether we do ever see the northern lights.
Until next time…. The GiaG Team