Fieldwork in Ikka Fjord 2022
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Fieldwork in Ikka Fjord 2022

A very successful field season in Ikka Fjord – not least thanks to our local collaborator Kunuk Albrechtsen from Arsuk and beautiful sunshine during the whole period. The researchers in the field this season were geophysicist Paul Seaman from Scotland (UK), oceanographer Bengt Liljebladh from Gothenburg (Sweden), and myself geologist Gabrielle Stockmann from Gothenburg. Since there were only three of us travelling this year, we decided to take public transportation to Arsuk. First, Disko Line from Narsarsuaq to Narsaq, where we spent the night at Hotel Narsaq and enjoined the local Qajaq beer, quite strong. The following evening we boarded the Arctic Umiaq Line coastal ship ‘Sarfaq Ittuk’, which took us to Arsuk the next morning. As most of the Arsuk inhabitants were down with covid, we decided with to Kunuk to go straight to Ikka Fjord. Here we were allowed to use/rent the local ‘Koralhytten’ hut for the whole week. We have never had such luxury accommodation in Ikka Fjord before. Koralhytten felt like a proper home, and Paul Seaman and I agreed we could have spent the remaining summer there if time and work schedule had allowed it. It’s been 27 years since Paul and I took part in the first scientific expedition to Ikka Fjord. We are as much in love with place now as back then, or maybe even more. This is simply a magical place for us and still so much to study and discover. Some of the research highlights of this year are: 1) we found at least 12 new hitherto unmapped tufa columns, making it to a total number of 950 columns, but there are probably more, 2) the seawater in inner Ikka Fjord has been completely exchanged with new fresh and cold seawater, which is good news for the preservation of the columns, 3) nevertheless, the majority of columns appears to be in miserable state and look massive and ‘dead’, 4) there is hardly any biological life on the columns anymore, not even sea urchins, and the coralline algae looks like they fell off the sides of the columns (?), 5) the big ‘Atoll’ columns looks like its been heavily eroded on the top (due to strong waves?), and 6) there are a multitude of siderite-carbonatite dikes on the Koralhytten side of Ikka Fjord that is not on the official geological map by Emeleus (1964). This could explain why there are so many columns on that side of the fjord. And finally 7), Bengt confirmed the existence of another threshold further out in Ikka Fjord, which makes another narrow passage for seawater to enter the fjord. It’s only when really strong winds from the easterly direction blows down the fjord that there is a chance to exchange the seawater in the inner part where the columns are located.

Thanks to Kunuk for being so helpful and kind to us. We really appreciate his help and knowledge from the bottom of our hearts! Thanks to Paul and Bengt for being such great and entertaining companions this summer. Can hardly remember a field season where I have laughed so much – good for your health. Thanks to the Arsuk community for lending us Koralhytten. Thanks to Tim and Thomas at Station Grønnedal for the coffee and the much needed shower. Thanks to the Icelandic-Greenlandic Hotel Narsaq for accommodating us on the way out and back. Finally but not least thanks to NAPA and SWEMARC for funding this fieldwork!

Here below is a small selection of the thousand of new photos taken this field season:

Photo: Paul Seaman. Hotel Narsaq with Kvanefjeldet in the background.
Photo: Bengt Liljebladh. Here we go again! Gabrielle and Paul Seaman on our way to Ikka Fjord like so many times before. Dressed up as MIB (Men in Black sunglasses).
Photo: Gabrielle. Paul Seaman and Bengt Liljebladh in Narsaq, ready for new Ikka adventures.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Sarfaq Ittuk taking us to Arsuk over night.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Lots of icebergs on the way.
Photo: Gabrielle. Paul excited to go to Ikka Fjord again.
Photo: Paul Seaman. We had to go into lifeboats from Sarfaq Ittuk to get to Arsuk. Here Gabrielle and Bengt Liljebladh.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Small town of Arsuk.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Beautiful Ikka Fjord in the morning.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Our home ‘Koralhytten’ in Ikka Fjord for a week.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Gabrielle, happy being at home in Greenland! In good company with Kunuk trying to improve her Greenlandic language skills.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Swedish seafarer and viking, Bengt Liljebladh.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Ikka Fjord in the early morning with sunshine and calm weather. Can’t get more beautiful than this.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Musk oxen in Ikka Fjord, plentiful as always. Three males were staying close to our hut but were peaceful neighbours.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Gabrielle standing at the end of the new Norse ruin we found last year, most likely a barn.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Kunuk and his boat Nuuluk helping us throughout the field season.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Bengt, Kunuk and Gabrielle ready to get to work in Ikka Fjord.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Columns in Ikka Fjord seen from a boat at low tide and calm weather.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Columns in Ikka Fjord.
Photo: Paul Seaman. End of Ikka Fjord.
Photo: Paul Seaman. Gabrielle holding the GPS on a string.
Photo: Gabrielle. Paul Seaman preparing the drone for photographing Ikka Fjord.
Photo: Gabrielle. Kunuk gave us laminated Ikka photos to decorate the hut.
Photo: Gabrielle. Kunuk and Bengt preparing the instrument to measure seawater currents.
Photo: Gabrielle. Paul holding the Idronaut probe for seawater measurements..
Photo: Gabrielle. Bent preparing the Idronaut for one of many casts making seawater profiles.
Photo: Gabrielle. Bengt and Paul reading data from the Idronaut probe.
Photo: Gabrielle. Impressive and decorative Syenite boulder next to Koralhytten.
Photo: Gabrielle. Early morning in Ikka Fjord. Paul made sure make us nice coffee every morning.
Photo: Gabrielle. Fantastic Kunuk!
Photo: Gabrielle. Paul Seaman taking care of the barbecuing of lamb meat.
Photo: Gabrielle. Paul used his 3D Virtual Reality (VR) Camera to photograph the columns. Using special VR goggles you get a 360 degree vision of what it looks like under water. Amazing technology!
Photo: Gabrielle. Ikka columns in Ikka Fjord.
Photo: Gabrielle. Ikka columns with bubbles going to the surface.
Photo: Gabrielle. Ikka columns in Ikka Fjord.
Photo: Bengt Liljebladh. Groundwater and air bubbles coming out of the columns.
Photo: Bengt Liljebladh. Gabrielle doing a bit of proper geological work, rock sampling.
Photo: Gabrielle. Bengt and Paul ready to leave Arsuk with Sarfaq Ittuk.
Photo: Gabrielle. Selfie on Sarfaq Ittuk on the way home. Happy scientists!