June 6, 2007 Russell Glacier
After being at Summit on top of the ice sheet in Greenland where snow accumulates at a rate of 60-65 cm per year, I still wanted to see the edge of the ice sheet. The Russell Glacier is about 17 km from Kangerlussuaq. Some people hike the stretch, some ride bikes, but a few of us signed up with a tour bus and went out for the afternoon. The 15-passenger van was hiked up and had 4-wheel drive…thank heavens. The road was an adventure by itself and when we hit the glacial till, I thought we would sink down and get stuck. But our driver and guide had traveled this road many times and did an excellent job negotiating the path out to the glacier.
These chunks of ice were bobbing down the stream of glacial melt
Once there we could explore within a reasonable distance. The glacier was definitely calving frequently with chunks of ice bobbing and turning over and over as they moved down the fast moving water. The sound of the glacier was like that of a low-sounding thunder. There was an area along the side that resembled a cave where water was streaming down and ice falling. It was absolutely incredible. This part of the ice edge is only moving 12-50 meters a year now. Another glacier which is north of here, the Jakobshavn Glacier, is moving very fast, around 12 km a year. Many scientists are studying the glaciers in Greenland and you can Google both of these glaciers to get more information.
notice the falling ice inside the cave
Some of our group will be going back on Thursday, June 7. The rest of us, including me, will fly back to Albany on June 8. The New York 109 Air National Guard will again fly us on the Hercules LC130 cargo plane, a 5-6 hour flight time. My experience in the Arctic has been incredible and I hope those following my journals have been able to capture what it has been like to live and work at Summit. Thanks to all for your questions and webinar participation. Hopefully, you will also keep following the other PolarTrec teachers as they continue to explore the Arctic and Antarctica.
Jo near the Russell Glacier