Thursday, June 4, 2015

6/4: Standing on a Mtn., Watching the Rain Roll In

View from the mtn. peak of the rainbow in front of the Ingoy Long Wave Radio Transmitter, the tallest structure in Scandinavia. 
Geomorphology = Geo (earth) + Morph (shape/form) + ology (the study of) = the study of how the earth changes, specifically, how do the various processes of our our dynamics earth sculpt the landscape and leave us with both our modern environment but also clues as to its evolution through time.

A complex sequence of marine environments combined to produce the landscape at Sanden. Notice the undulating boulder ridges in the center of the image at low tide. 
One of the major tasks of the infantry is to figure out the sea level history of Sanden, a coastal preserve here on Ingoya, through evidence left in the complex landscape of raised beach deposits. The clams within those ancient beaches may serve as indicators of past climate change when their annual rings are compared but also equally importantly be little post cards with radiocarbon time stamps to help us understand the evolution of their surrounding environment. We are geomorphologists. To some, it may look like we walk, take/draw pictures, dig holes, and tell bad jokes...but those are all standard geomorphological techniques.

A view of our base camp, Thorleif's Sjøhus
Today both groups pounded the Scandinavian sands to inspect the landscape, gather more biological clam samples, and check out a potential lake for coring. Coring a lake is basically a big version of  putting your thumb over a straw and then into milk shake. When you take the straw out (core) imagine that instead of delicious Giffords ice cream, you've got hundreds to thousands of years of sediment ready to tell the story of their deposition. There are videos floating around out there of me eating lake mud for grain size analysis and my students shrieking in disbelief...my advice...unless you care about the %clay vs. %silt fraction, stick to the Vanilla Frappe. 

The sky is clear of storms for the moment...
On the way to today's outing, I took advantage of a brief stop in the road (I think Mike was admiring some geese) to hop out of the van and take the high road (rare) over to our meeting point on foot. That meant up and over the knife edge of the mountain which would off some excellent views and a new perspective to try and put some of our puzzling geomorphic features into context. Got caught in a rain/sleet storm but had a blast stretching the legs. On the way back, Julia and Sam joined me on the mountain pass...and of course we got caught in another storm...on a mountain in the middle of the sea...next to the tallest structure in all of Scandinavia (Ingoy Long Wave Radio Transmitter). The guy from the Central Maine Power Ads would kill me, but he wouldn't have gotten these pictures. Enjoy:
A lower elevation looking at the paleo-beach ridges of Sanden
A look in the other direction out to the modern beach
As with many peaks in Scandinavia, there is a cairn with a guest book to sign at the top. 
So I signed it...
Storms coming through Trollsund
An elevated view of the group cruising the shoreline
Sam and Julia heading up the mtn. and into the storm
Julia taking in the sights
Sam, just before he tried to throw his phone over the cliff
Watching the storm clouds and isolated rain squalls pass over the Barents Sea
The northernmost manned (when built it was manned) lighthouse in the world


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