Greenland with OUGS Mainland Europe
27th of July - 6th of August 2003
Day 1 : Arrival
On Sunday morning we left the heat wave behind us, passing by air (Air Greenland) from Copenhagen along the Norwegian west coast over Icelandic volcanoes and glaciers, crossing the southern tip of Greenland with nunataks and inland ice to land in Narsarsuaq Airport (at the end of a long glacier). Cool and lovely.
Narsarsuaq means' the great plain' in Greenlandic, and it was indeed the largest "flat" area we saw on our greenland field trip.
What’s in a name?
The place names and their spelling now and then confused us a bit.
Greenlandic names with "old" Greenlandic spelling, Danish spelling (of Greenlandic names) or new modern Greenlandic spelling. Old "Norse" names from the settlement time a millennium ago. Danish "colonial" names. Geological "scientific" names (derived from scientific tradition). English names and translated names. In fact enough different names to confuse everybody - and there is to my mind no way of being consequent throughout. But here a few examples to illustrate the "problem" :
The Ilímaussaq alkaline complex. Ilímaussaq is the internationally well-established name of this intrusion, but the mountain, which gave its name to the intrusion, in modern authorised spelling is Ilimmaasaq - and thus the name you will find on a modern map. Likewise Julianehåb granite is the granite you find around Qaqortoq ("Julianehåb" being the Danish equivalent of the Greenlandic "Qaqortoq"). The "geological" Gardar province derives it name from the old Norse settlement Diocese of Gardar. The former Gardar is now called Igaliku, but nevertheless the sandstone from there is called Igaliko Sandstone. As many place names are descriptive it also makes sense to translate (some of) them, so in this report you will also find names like "the Comb", "the Church Steeple" etc.
Greenlandic is by the way called "Kalaallisut" in Greenlandic.
May I conclude that, if somewhere in this report I make mistakes in (place names) spelling, don't lay the blame on me ...
We continued our travel by line ship (Arctic Umiaq Lines) to Narsaq on the Eriksfjord, the Danish name for Tunnulliarfiq. In fact Erik the Red gave it the name Eriksfjord, when he in 982 A.D. as the first Scandinavian sailed up this fjord. On the flattish area across the fjord from Narsarsuaq we could still see where his settlement has been at Brattahlid, or Quassiarsuk as the Greenlanders call the place today. On our way we recognised the Eriksfjord Formation (and other Gardar supracrustals), the Ketilidian basement, a few of the Gardar intrusions and Killavaat ('the Comb'), a mountain ridge at a height of 1,210 metres made up of Proterozoic granite (Julianehåb Granite), now standing out because it had been baked and hardened at the contact to the Ilímaussaq intrusive complex during and after the emplacement of that intrusion.
The comb is however much more spectacular seen from the west towards the east. See a picture from one of the GEUS publications.
Narsaq means 'the plain' in Greenlandic - a rather small plain I would say, but Greenland is rather mountainous, as our group can testify.
For the next 5 days we stayed at Hotel Narsaq.
Sorry, I should have called the mountain "Ilimmaasaq!" - Ilímaussaq Intrusion but mountain Ilimmaasaq. Please notice that the mountain Ilimmaasaq is not a part of the Ilímaussaq Intrusion, but consists of Gardar supracrustals, here lavas. The colour of the intrusion is more greyish - like the Taseq slope.
Day 4 : Northern part of the Ilímaussaq Intrusion
Day 7 : Narsaq — Nanortalik (By Boat)
On our way to Nanortalik we refueled at Qaqortoq ( Julianehåb ) (No picture!)
View towards the north from hotel room in Hotel Kap Farvel where we stayed for two nights in Nanortalik.
Nanortalik means 'place of bears', i. e. polar bears, but we didn't meet any, not this time of the year. Each winter however several polar bears are spotted in the area
Around Nanortalik the geological map is coloured in as "pelitic to semipelitic gneiss, often with considerable pegmatite migmatisation, generally with cordierite and sillimanite".