Iceland fieldwork 2013: field video released!

Birkbeck, University of London have released a short field-video we made documenting our July 2013 Mars-analogue fieldwork. This fieldwork was carried out as part of PhD student Jennifer Harris’s research on using reflectance spectroscopy and multispectral imaging to search for evidence of past habitability on Mars. To see the video, follow this link:  http://media.bloomsburymediacloud.org/media/iceland-field-trip-2013

Dramatic drainage at Kverkfjoll

A few days ago, on the 16th August, the large geothermal lake ‘Gengissig’ that sits atop the volcanic system of Kverkfjoll in central Iceland, emptied spectacularly producing a small jökulhlaup. This area has been a major focus for my research over the past few years, using it to address problems ranging from the identification of…

Disko Part 10: Time to leave

It is our last day on Disko Island. We are scheduled to depart our temporary Arctic home later this evening at 6.30pm, on the same Disko Line ferry that brought us here 9 days ago. Whilst we have finished sampling, there is still much to do. Samples need to be packed and dropped off with…

Disko Part 9: Foiled by the weather

Today is our last full sampling day on Disko Island. We get up early to make the most of it, fill our bags with food, water, and sampling equipment, and head off on the steep, scrambly trek to Lyngmark Glacier. As we advance up the contour lines, the sky becomes less and less welcoming –…

Disko Part 7: Lyngmark glacier

After the inconvenience of the rucksack incident, we were looking forward to an afternoon of sampling and hiking along a well-established (and marked!) route up and around Lyngmark glacier. We weren’t sure what to expect, as it seems everything to do with Disko Island is very under-studied and little researched. The hike up is steep,…

Disko Part 6: Operation bag-rescue

After a successful few days we are on a bit of a field-high, having established our sampling sites and looking forward to the arrival of our long-awaited box full of most of our sample gear. Our plan is to head to Englishman’s Springs, following the route we had checked out the day before, and sample…

Disko Part 5: Arctic Party

As it happens, we timed our trip with the farewell dinner for the current director of Arctic Station. Everyone staying at the station is invited, and all we know is that a lavish meal will be put on later this evening, and that a recently-shot musk ox is making its way over from the mainland…

Disko Part 4: Englishman’s Springs

Today we are aching! Our mega-hike yesterday has left us a little worse for wear, so today we take the opportunity to catalogue our sample haul and later investigate nearby thermal springs in preparation for sampling tomorrow. These springs are very understudied with regards to their microbiology, and whilst not particularly ‘hot’ (around 13 °C),…

Disko Part 3: Scarvefjeld

With our sample box yet to arrive, we focus today on geological sampling. Specifically, we are after samples that represent the main basaltic units present on Disko Island, with which unusual iron-bearing basalts, and basalts containing reduced carbon species, are associated. We hope that by sampling these surrounding units (all of which make up the…