Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Students Have Wild Time on Glacier Research Trip

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Students Have Wild Time on Glacier Research Trip

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON ENVIRONMENT

LIVING under canvas in the wide open expanses of Greenland means leaving the distractions of the modern world far behind.

Six Newcastle University students who embarked on a five-week field research trip to a Greenland glacier took the precaution of packing a 1,000-piece jigsaw for entertainment.

But nature also weighed in with spectacular sunsets, displays of the Northern Lights, and wildlife.

Each of the team worked on projects on the Russell glacier to better understand how the glacial environment is being affected by climate change.

Abbi Bennett, Steve Cox, Sophie Battinson and Helen O'Riordan are all studying BSc physical geography, and Tim Kempf and Daniel Leicester are studying BSc geography.

The team flew from Copenhagen to the town of Kangerlussuaq - population 550 - on Greenland's west coast, where they stocked up with supplies.

Then came the journey inland to the glacier.

"It was wild camping, with our water coming from the glacier or a lake which was a 30-minute walk way," said Abbi.

"At the beginning we had 18 to 19 hours of daylight and then it didn't get dark but was twilight.

"It was quite weird at first but we had eye masks to get to sleep.

"The landscape is quite barren, with no trees and only rocks and moss. It's a really hard landscape to live on, but the views made up for it."

Temperatures varied from 5C-13C by day and could drop below zero at night.

"That's when I wore five pairs of socks," said Abbi.

But the heavenly light shows were a big plus.

"They were so dramatic. It was absolutely amazing to see," said Abbi.

The team also logged wildlife such as Arctic hares and foxes, musk ox, and reindeer.

The teams had a 40-minute walk to the glacier to carry out their research, which involved investigating melt rates. …

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