Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25/2014: Last Day on Top of the World

Gulls take flight as we approach
Today marks our last day in Ingoya. Come 5:30 tomorrow morning we will be boarding a local fishing boat to another village on the mainland to catch the Hurtigruten back to Tromso. It leaves at  
8 am and we will pull into to town around 11:30 pm meaning one long ride. From there we will be in town for roughly 6 hours before we have to depart for the airport and start the assorted flights back to the states. Bottom line, 4:45 pm on Wednesday I should have boots on the ground in Boston. I won't be good for much of anything after this epic bout of travel...

Breaking camp is always a tough job but we were able to spend the bulk of the midday out in the field completing one last survey of the pale-beaches and collecting water samples. We've been able to figure out that there are some beaches at very high elevations due to the land being depressed following glacial bull dozing this region. Our last task was to actually use a transit and get their elevations as they stair stepped their way to the modern coast. It is a complex process to reconstruct their paleoenvironments but in reality, if you see smoothed pebbles, cobbles, and boulders, you know they've been worked by water at some point in the past. You can then start to piece together the depositional environment and use the current coastlines with its various sediments of size to to help understand how it may have worked in the past. Some of the arcing former coastlines are also very prominent. If we can put these all together and some radiocarbon ages on shells from these former beaches, that will go a long way in our understanding of this dynamic coast over the past ~6,000 years.

Finally, the weather today was the best its been with hardly a cloud in the sky and temperatures between 50-55 degrees F. This made for gorgeous pictures and a very pleasant time surveying. Check out the pictures below and this may be my last post for a bit unless you really want to see me packing dirty clothes and shells into my duffel bag. It is going to be a real treat to open back in Maine...

Julie and Mike getting ready to start the survey action
You can just barely see Julie off in the distance with the stadia rod. 
The surveying perspective
Smoothed bedrock showing signs of glacial flow from right to the left. An excellent form of glacial flow indicators seen widely around Ingoya.
Mike walks the crest of the former coastline you see arcing to the right
The view from the other side of surveying
Julie at the mean high tide mark with Mike taking a measurement for the last leap frog of surveying down to the modern beach
Looking to see on the last survey
Julie stands on the upturned bedrock strata looking out to see
Higher zones of pebbles and cobbles associated with storm profiles
National Geographic eat your heart out…it takes me about ~45 pictures for every one I post to get it right so I don't feel too special. Shoot enough arrows at the target and you'll eventually hit it. Thank you digital photography.

Mike walking to a different low elevation paleo-beach

Lots of random cairns dot the landscape
Yup, still picturesque. A normal seen as we hiked out of the peat covered landscape. The ground was very, very squishy and often saturated with water. 
It's a bird, it's a plane, its…oh, Will and Al waiting for us with the van
Shells categorized, labeled, and ready to bring home
Aubrey and Maddie packing for the journey
Will and Al determining how gear should be stored for the next excursion north.


  1. Thanks for letting your readers vicariously experience Ingoya with you and the rest of the research team. Safe travels back home to Maine. I'll be headed to Tromso on Thursday. JM

  2. Glad to and thanks for watching. You will love Tromso and congrats on your first voyage north of the arctic circle. Will says you'll have to jump in the ocean for initiation but don't let him pressure you. Tell 'ole Barnacle Bill him first…Thanks again.