Return from lakes Disko 1 and 2

We have returned from four days of fieldwork visiting two lakes in the Blæsedalen valley (in Greenlandic, Itinneq Kangilleq) here on Dikso Island.  The hiking was very tough as the terrain is very hummocky, requiring passage through boulders, cobbles, bog, moss and shrubs while carrying our provisions and field equipment.  To get to our base camp near the first lake took about 9 hours of hiking, but the continuous 24 hour light here in the Arctic meant there was no rush for dusk.100_4253Image of the Blæsedalen valley on the first day.  Low cloud covered the valley, but visibility was sufficient although the peaks of the valley walls could not be seen.

100_4275

100_4289The first lake, named Disko 1 for the purposes of this project became visible as the clouds evaporated on the second day.

100_4286The lake is approximately 1km wide and is surrounded by a mossy, guano rich bog. Disko 1 lies in the central part of the Blæsedalen valley at an altitude of approximately 388 meters. An example of the terrain and small ponds surrounding lake Disko 1.

100_4292An attack by mosquitoes at lake Disko 1. Despite covering myself in Jungle Formula DEET, ‘Mosiguard’ and homemade citronella extract repellent I still got no fewer than 15 bites. Joe was not on the mosquitoes menu and only got a couple of bites!

100_4297Water sampling at lake Disko 1.  We took lake water samples for nutrient analysis back in the lab and filtered lake water for lipid and pigment source studies.  We also measured dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity and pH using a YSI probe that was calibrated in the field.

100_4315On the third day we hiked for about three hours to lake Disko 2 which lies in a glacially scoured basin with steep head walls at either side.  Here, at an altitude of 630 meters the vegetation is sparse and the soil is poorly developed in many places.   Freeze-thawing is a key action responsible for weathering the basaltic cliffs and is responsible for mounds boulders surrounding the lake.

100_4317After the limnology was completed we took soil and plant samples from the surrounding catchment and estimated plant coverage using quadrats at sites in a transect from the lake basin.  We decided due to the terrain that it was better to return to our base near Disko 1 to spend the night.

100_4329The hut where we stayed for three nights, located in the Blæsedalen valley about 45 mins walk from lake Disko 1.

100_4332The view of the Blæsedalen valley as we embarked on the hike back to Arktisk Station.

100_4380Arktisk Station comes into view as we return after four days fieldwork.

We are now rested after a day to catch up on sleep and have eaten lots of Greenlandic produce to boost our energy levels.  Tomorrow we will take a motor boat sailed by Akaaraq in a westerly direction around the coast from Qeqertarsuaq to a beach at Laksebugt (Itilleq) from where we will hike across Iparaatsi to lake Disko 4 and repeat our water sampling and vegetation surveys.

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