The Helicopter Arrives at 10AM: GET PACKING!

We awoke extra early this morning to sunny skies and an encouraging lack of rain. The last thing we heard before bed was from Anders: "The helicopter arrives at 10:00am, so make sure to be ready."

James, Sandi, and I found ourselves in the cook tent at 6:15am making coffee and clearing everyone's mostly damp (but somewhat dry!) rain gear from the roof poles of the tent to make room for breakfast. To make things easier for everyone, Sandie pre-made pancakes the night before. All we needed to do was pull them out from under the aluminum foil that was protecting them from the early morning cold. After breakfast and plenty of coffee, we headed back to our tents to begin packing our personal belongings.

taking down the tent
The time has come! I am so thankful we were able to take down camp in sunny, dry weather!

Once everyone's personal tents and duffel bags were packed up and stacked in a pile, we all pitched in and worked together to begin breaking down the cook tent and packing up field equipment, tools, and leftover food. All in all, it took us about three hours to pack everything.

teamwork with cook tent
The 10 of us worked for about three hours to break down camp and get it all loaded up in the sling load bags for the helicopter.

While we needed to stay focused and make sure to meet our 10:00 AM departure deadline for the helicopter, we still managed to have a little fun with our last few hours at base camp!

silly kids
The gang holds G-Cubed, Geologist Geoff Gadd, up for a photo.

one last photo
One last photo of the team before ferrying gear and people out of base camp.

Once the helicopter arrived, we loaded all of the equipment into the sling load bags. We managed to get everything into six bags, and split them into two loads of three bags each.

Ívar the brave
Ívar the Brave One focuses his concentration on hooking the sling loads to the steel cable while the helicopter hovers less than 1 meter over his head!

sling load
Our first sling load of gear and equipment makes it way off of the forefield.

All of the gear and equipment, extra food, tents, and personal bags were first helicoptered to the emergency hut that we stayed in on our way in to base camp back on 7.30.13. The helicopter then came back and brought Geoff, Sandie, Libby, and James to the hut as well.

That left Sverrir, Anders, Mark, Ívar, Reba, and myself to ride in the helicopter back to Reykjavík. Sverrir is then going to drive (5 hours one way) back to the emergency hut on Sunday morning with the trailer. He will pick up our remaining teammates and gear and drive back to Reykjavík where we will all meet at the University of Iceland and begin unloading.

55 Minutes in the Air Over a Geological Paradise

The helicopter flight to Reykjavík was absolutely stunning today. Having a birds-eye view of the geological forces and processes that have sculpted the landscape of Iceland was a real treat. Ever since my BS in GeologyThe science that deals with the dynamics and physical history of the earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the physical, chemical, and biological changes that the earth has undergone or is undergoing., I have hoped to witness in person all that I witnessed today! It felt like I was watching my old textbooks come alive right before my eyes.

Not to mention, I was riding along with some of the top glacial geologists in all of Iceland, Sweden, and Norway, so the entire flight was full of exciting, in depth narration and explanation of what we were looking at and how the landscape as evolved.

mula from helo
Before heading back to Reykjavik, our pilot gave us a wonderful air tour of Mulajokull. Viewing the drumlin field from the air is quite important to the researchers. They are able to communicate and record observations about macroscale structures, landforms, and topography. Their digital cameras allow them to document these views year after year of reserach, giving them a chronological record of aerial observations in the form of digital photography.

Enjoy the video footage from the flight! Thanks to Jeff and Andy at CDA-TV 19, I managed to capture all 55 minutes of it on one video file using their Contour GPS camera.

Please, do yourself a favor and watch the helicopter flight video I have posted of the flight! From Mulajokull and the Hofsjokull Volcano and Ice Cap, to the Mid Atlantic Ridge tectonic margin, to the seemingly countless active volcano systems and lava fields, the flight was full of incredible scenery and geology. I hope you enjoy!


I am off to explore the city of Reykjavík tomorrow and learn some more about Icelandic culture. I just finished an authentic Icelandic supper at Cafe Loki this evening and I am excited to check out more of the culture (especially the food!) throughout the day tomorrow. As for the meal tonight, I can officially say that I have eaten fermented shark. Yes... you read that correctly. It's a holiday delicacy here in Iceland, and today's events sure felt like a holiday!

On Monday I am going to try and head to GeoCamp,an Icelandic field science camp for high school students. I want to check out the possibilities of bringing some students with me next time I come to Iceland. I realized today that this place is so amazing, and the opportunities to learn about Earth's Systems so vast, that I must share it with my students first hand the next time that I come here.

I will write again on Monday with some pictures and stories from my days in Reykjavík!



Weather Summary
Partly Sunny