May 15

Traveling to the North Pole, Part 8: A Rugged and Deadly Land

Category: Arctic,JHUAPL,Travel,Work

Here is a collection of shots taken from the air while traversing to and from our sample locations.  We always start and end the flights by crossing the rugged and formidable north coast of Ellesmere Island.  Most of these pictures are from the Cape Columbia area – one of the most northerly pieces of land on the planet, it cedes first place to other northerly locations by only a trivial distance.  It is a place of precipitous cliffs, glaciers, and perpetual snow.  Many explorers have lost their lives here, and nature does not give much of a break to the animals or plants either.  Everything must do its best to survive and the devil will take the hindmost!

In the next few images you can see the shore in the foreground.  The Challenger mountain range comes right up to the sea, often with dramatic cliffs plunging directly into the water.


A glacier creeps down towards the sea:

Now you’ll see the ice from a Marine-Terminating Glacier – a Glacier that spills directly into the sea and floats upon it, forming a flat shelf of fresh-water, glacial ice over the water, rather than the very different ice that is so characteristic of the Arctic icecap.  This fresh-water ice, being of a different density than sea ice, floats higher; when the sea (in this case, an inlet of a Fjord) freezes, there is a characteristic pattern of glacial shards on a flat plain of sea ice.  This is probably Yelverton or McClintock Bay – I can’t recall – west of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf.

Most of our sampling locations are out of sight of land, but here is the view from one of those close to shore.

Being so close to Alert, we had a rare fly-over from a colleague:


 Finally, after a day’s work, we approach our base at Alert:



2 Comments so far

  1. Gaelyn May 15th, 2012 10:47 PM

    This landscape looks amazing, shocking and inhospitable. Great aerial shots.

  2. Bert May 21st, 2012 9:54 AM

    Reviewing your blog since the beginning of your trip, I find the vast panorama of documentation fascinating. The esthetic beauty of your photos including composition et al and shots of animals, people, plants,equipment and geological features together merit exposure to a wide audience. With a minimum addition of text, your blog, Journey to the North Pole, could make a wonderful coffee-table sized book that would have large appeal.

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