The major objective of operating in Greenland this summer was to find iron, not just "normal" iron, but iron in a form that could be scraped out and transported off with no extra processing, called direct shipping ore. This stuff is by far the most valuable, but does tend to be found in much smaller quantities than the regular type. The geological team had identified an area close to three glaciers and a deep fjord where they felt we were mostly likely to find this iron, which meant if we did find the right rocks, it may be fairly easy for someone to get them out in the future, and thus they would be more valuable.
This area was earmarked for the second half of the drill season, after all the gear was in place and the teams had found their operational footing with easier work in a different location. We spent an afternoon scouting the area in June. In a quite dramatic entry we helicoptered in and touched down gently on a rather steep mountainside with loose rocks strewn about. Nothing quite like a chopper pilot improvising by putting down first one, then after he was comfortable it would hold the weight of the helo, the second landing strut down on his chosen patch of mountain, not unlike a person feeling his way along an icy path for footing. Then a few minutes later the guy is walking away casually like he just parallel parked his Ferrari in downtown New York! Piece of cake….
From there the geologists fanned out across the small mountain doing their preliminary investigative work that would ultimately lead to drilling several holes. For me this was the perfect excuse to wander away a bit and find a great shot either of the team working or of the general area. Luckily this mountain happened to be surrounded on two sides by massive moving glaciers calving icebergs the size of parking lots and peeking out over the edge yielded the attached picture.
To be working here for an hour was just amazing, seeing the contrast between the jagged sides of the rocky mountain and the wonderfully attractive blue glacial ice just beyond. It felt like something out a medieval depiction of heaven and hell, and indeed the brain did seem to need just a bit more time than normal to take it all in. As we hopped back in the helo to head for home, the scene somehow commanded a complete and very elemental respect from all who looked down on it.