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 ...

Qassiarsuq
Qassiarsuq

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 south side of Tunnulliarfiq with Killavaat ('the comb').
The south side of Tunnulliarfiq with Killavaat ('the comb').
The north side of Tunnulliarfiq
The north side of Tunnulliarfiq

The comb is however much more spectacular seen from the west towards the east. See a picture from one of the GEUS publications.

Narsaq
Narsaq

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.


Few of us had expected so many flowers, so here are a couple of pictures with flowers in Narsaq.
Few of us had expected so many flowers, so here are a couple of pictures with flowers in Narsaq.

Day 2 : Inland ice

 

Iceberg in Narsaq
Iceberg in Narsaq
Iceberg in Narsaq.
Iceberg in Narsaq

Iceberg in Narsaq. Sorry in fact these two photos are from the night before. But this day everybody took photos of icebergs in all forms and different hues. The five days we stayed in Narsaq we saw this iceberg getting smaller and smaller and breaking into pieces.

This boat took us to the inland ice.
This boat took us to the inland ice.
Morning fog
Morning fog

This boat took us to the inland ice.  Melting water from the inland ice in the background.
As so often there was a morning fog, but as by magic the fog lifted just as we came to the inland ice.

Julianehåb granite under us.
Julianehåb granite under us.
Inland ice
Inland ice

Julianehåb granite under us. The emplacement of the (calc-alkaline) Julianehåb batholith took place about 1850-1800 Ma.
And the inland ice in front of us.

Mountain Ilímaussaq

Mountain Ilímaussaq

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.

Kangerluasuk-walk
Kangerluasuk-walk

Day 3 : Southern part of the Ilímaussaq Intrusion

First we visited the contact zone augite syenite/naujaite to the west of Sørensen ø (ø = island).

Augite syenite.
Augite syenite.
Naujaite. A sodalite-nepheline syenite.
Naujaite. A sodalite-nepheline syenite.
Arfvedsonite (sodium rich amphibole).
Arfvedsonite (sodium rich amphibole).


Next we went ashore near the stream "Lille elv" (in the naujaite zone).

The Ilímaussaq Intrusion is the type locality to many of the more well known agpaitic minerals such as arfvedsonite, and the crystals can indeed be very large.

Layered intrusion - kakortakites ("Kringlerne"). (Photo by Roger Baker)
Layered intrusion - kakortakites ("Kringlerne"). (Photo by Roger Baker)

Day 4 : Northern part of the Ilímaussaq Intrusion


Walk up to the new mine
Walk up to the new mine
Foyaite.The lens cap is 52 mm.
Foyaite.The lens cap is 52 mm.

After a drive up to Christiansminde we walked up to the "new mine". (I might have marked the "old mine" at a wrong location, but anyway it is situated higher up than the new mine)

The mountain Ilímaussaq and the Narsaq Glacier with the Taseq slope at the lower right.
The mountain Ilímaussaq and the Narsaq Glacier with the Taseq slope at the lower right.

Day 4 : Northern part of the Ilímaussaq Intrusion

Aegirine vein.The lens cap is 52 mm.
Aegirine vein.The lens cap is 52 mm.
Aegirine. Vein with needles.The vein thickness is ca. 8 mm.
Aegirine. Vein with needles.The vein thickness is ca. 8 mm.
Chkalovite.Na2BeSi2O6
Chkalovite.Na2BeSi2O6
Naujakasite.The largest diamond-shaped crystals in the picture are ca. 2 mm (blue ball pen for scale).
Naujakasite.The largest diamond-shaped crystals in the picture are ca. 2 mm (blue ball pen for scale).
Our first search was for Ussingite.
Our first search was for Ussingite.
Ussingite.The lens cap is 52 mm.
Ussingite.The lens cap is 52 mm.

Day 5 : Northern part of the Ilímaussaq Intrusion


After a drive up to Christiansminde we walked up the Taseq slope

Blasted hole to get Semenovite.The lens cap is 52 mm.
Blasted hole to get Semenovite.The lens cap is 52 mm.
Taseq Lake.
Taseq Lake.

We did not find any Semenovite. The Ilímaussaq intrusion is the only place where semenovite has been found so far, and only at 3 localities. Below a big hole was blasted (not by us!) to get the Semenovite out.

Natrolite
Natrolite
"The Comb" (mountain ridge) seen from Nakkaalaaq (mountain between Taseq lake and Narsaq glacier) across the Tunnulliarfiq (Eriksfjord).
"The Comb" (mountain ridge) seen from Nakkaalaaq (mountain between Taseq lake and Narsaq glacier) across the Tunnulliarfiq (Eriksfjord).

We looked for sodalite on our way back down the slope to the Narsaq river - but unfortunately didn't find any. (See 1 Aug. 03 - "Next")

Narsaq river with small water falls.
Narsaq river with small water falls.

Day 6 : Free(Rest, Shopping, Museum Visit, Walks)

Five of us decided for a walk up to the Narsaq glacier

Narsaq glacier at the foot of Ilimmaasaq.
Narsaq glacier at the foot of Ilimmaasaq.
Melt water from the glacier feeds the Narsaq river.
Melt water from the glacier feeds the Narsaq river.

Narsaq glacier at the foot of Ilimmaasaq. Melt water from the glacier feeds the Narsaq river. There is a marked difference in colour between the (blackish) moraine and the (reddish) scree mainly coming from the supracrustal lavas.

Feldspar.Coin diameter = 28 mm.
Feldspar.Coin diameter = 28 mm.
Sodalite.Coin diameter = 28 mm.
Sodalite.Coin diameter = 28 mm.

We enjoyed our lunch at the edge of the glacier (drinking ice cold melt water - just lovely!).

Enjoy
Enjoy
Narsaq Glacier.
Narsaq Glacier.
Part of a fall on Narsaq river covered by old snow.
Part of a fall on Narsaq river covered by old snow.
Women's traditional costume. Hotel Narsaq.
Women's traditional costume. Hotel Narsaq.

Day 7 : Narsaq — Nanortalik  (By Boat)

On our way to Nanortalik we refueled at Qaqortoq ( Julianehåb ) (No picture!)

Panorama towards Nalunaq and the church steeple
Panorama towards Nalunaq and the church steeple

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".

Hotel Kap Farvel
Hotel Kap Farvel
Gneiss in road cutting near Hotel kap farvel.
Gneiss in road cutting near Hotel kap farvel.

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