I can't actually describe properly what it has been like to be here. It is something I looked forward to for my entire time at SAMS and I arrived early, at the end of June straight into over two months of daylight with red phalaropes (Phalaropus fulicarius) with the tiniest chicks you've ever seen and the male common eider (Somateria mollisima) still present at the nesting sites. It was the Arctic spring.
Since I was here early, I should probably have posted earlier. I had so much to share, about the plants and the animals and how they interact and what they eat, about the beautiful Hekla Hoeck structures, the moraines and the dirt cones on Larsbreen. The problem is that I have no words that have the ability to describe it accurately. I have always loved Scotland for it's wildness. When you go a little further north you can still walk for a week without seeing another human being. Spitsbergen takes it one step further. You could walk for months without encountering people and we aren't the top of the food chain either, you have to be on your toes all the time (or at least someone in your group does). Then there's the history, from discovery to whaling and trapping to mining to science and tourism, there are a thousand interesting things to tell. So deciding where to begin has been difficult.
The course so far has been amazing, I have been on three field trips as part of my two geology courses (quaternary and marine geology) and our field work in both courses is part of a larger body of research done in these regions. At the moment we're processing sediments in the laboratory from the cores we took during our marine geology cruise. We'll be looking at sediment grain size and foraminiferal assemblages. Together with the proxies we gathered on the boat (lithological log, magnetic susceptibility and shear strength) this should give us some ideas about the history of the locations we took the cores from.
In short: there's ice caves and glaciers and snowscooter trips and hikes and nordic skiing and downhill skiing and dog mushing and ......