Greenland 2001

Bad news first - I had to cut short my Greenland trip and return home 3 days earlier, thus missing the localities at Tunnuliarfik, Kringlerne and Igdlutalik. The sad reason was the death of my 15 year old nephew and godson Sascha Marius Grothe, who lived in Florida, due to a terrible mistake in the course of a routine surgery for pectus excavatum at Miami Childrens Hospital. I would be thankful for a short moment of reflection and maybe prayer, if you care. Thank you.


Note: The hyperlinks will some when [ ;-) ] lead to pages with pictures of the localities and my finds.


I had the pleasure to join a group from Graz, Austria, or more precise from the Ioanneum Museum there, guided by Dr.Bernd Moser. It was a very nice group and I enjoyed the trip very, very much. There were 11 Austrians, 3 Germans, 1 Norwegian, and Dr.Ole V.Petersen, Geological Museum Copenhagen, and a PhD-student from there.
The flight from Copenhagen was delayed - GreenlandAir had chartered their 757 out, and used a small Swedish charter carrier (Nordic AirLink) instead - a MD80, which was unable to fly the whole trip, but had to stop in Iceland to fuel up. Our stay there amounted to 2.5 hours, as the weather in Greenland did not permit a landing in Narsarsuaq due to low clouds.

Icebergs off the west coast of Greenland.





















The approach was spectacular (perfect weather) - after the pilots had checked the area (first trip ???) we flew in through 2 valleys forming a „U“ (180 degrees turn) over huge glaciers and between steep rock walls to land roughly on a pretty short runway.

Airstrip and the whole town of Narsarsuaq









































Narsarsuaq is a v e r y small village - 180 or so people only, but a pretty nice hotel. I was surprised to see lots of flowers - summer bloom obviously. In the fjord a couple of hundred meters away there were icebergs - white and blue. In spite of our delay we still could visit the old village ruins of Erik the Red, father to Leif Erikson, the discoverer of America.

Coastline in Narsarsuaq










































The next day it was Narsarsuk - with a small ship between icebergs to the shore, landing with a small boat and climbing up into low hanging clouds. 250 m ascent on a very steep slope of gravel and small rocks with few places to sit and rest.

Landing on the shore far below Narsarsuk.




























Up on top we had some difficulties to find the locality in the fog/clouds, as visibility was so bad, that we couldn't see the landmarks. It was only with clearing up about one hour later, that we found it.
Note: A general problem with the localities is, that obviously there are no GPS data or exact maps, but only the memory of Ole V.Petersen on his 16th trip, which also was his last. It will get difficult in a few years to find the exact localities, I am afraid. (Some of our group had GPS devices, so I might manage to obtain the coordinates, though). And certainly there are some other guides, as for the Canadian group.
Narsarsuk is a soft ridge with an area of about 100x300m with a perfect view of the fjord below and Qoroq glacier producing the icebergs. The rock is very weathered and consists of millions of fist sized pieces (and smaller) - the fresh material is not to be reached during a one-day trip, as this would call for heavy digging. Nevertheless collecting possibilities were fantastic - for me especially for Leifite, of which few pieces were known so far. Narsarsukite, good elpidite, epididymite, and lots more. A zircon locality below N. was quite nice, too, as was especially the Nanna Pegmatite a few hundred meters away with lots of nafertisite. I had to take 15 kg down to the shore again - unfortunately we missed the correct descent, so we were forced to climb down steep slopes and later sheep trails (t e r r i b l e !).

On the second day we had a 3 hours uneventful boat trip to Narsaq, where we stayed for the rest of the trip. Narsaq is „huge“ with 1850 inhabitans, 2 supermarkets, a gas station (paved roads in town only), a shrimp factory and the only slaughtery for reindeer and sheep in Greenland. We stayed in a boarding school (holiday season) and had to walk 20 minutes one direction in the morning and in the evening for the meals in the local sports hall cafeteria.

On the third day we went by car about 8 km on a gravel road into the valley between Tasseq and Kvanefjeld. First stop was the adit (closed) of the Nye Mine (new mine), which was worked in the 60s for uranium (from steenstrupine). There were a few bits and pieces in front of the adit, and the more adventurous could venture to an erpistolite outcrop a few dozen meters away on the slope.
Next we climbed up to the tuptupite mine (again pretty steep), which is worked by local people for the national stone of Greenland (tugtupite). With my partial color blindness I had a hard time to find the pinkish tugtupite, but there was also some nice neptunite. Best for the day was the „main spot“ on the Kvanefjeld plateau - beryllite, NaBeSite, beautiful albite twins and more. A few of the group went also to the Gammal Mine (old mine), but found just a few pieces of soerensenite. In the meantime I inspected the dumps of the Nye Mine on the valley bottom and found quite a lot of lomonosovite and villiaumite.

The fourth day we took a long boat trip into Kangerluarssuk fjord with low hanging clouds. It is very remarkable to my mind, that you don't see any wildlife in this part of Greenladn - some crows, but not even seagulls, not to talk about seals and whales. Maybe this is due to the fact, that every supermarket sells guns !
The weather cleared up only before going ashore, which was quite adventurous again. Then we had to do a stenuous climb for 300 m height difference again, guided by a former prospector from Denmark spending his summer at this remote place - but it was worth every drop of sweat. The main locality at Kangerdluarssuk yielded bright pink ussingite, eudialyte crystals and very good steenstrupine crystal, along with morte common, but nice stuff like polylithionite and arfvedsonite. The way back down was the worst part of all - a steep slope of 2m rocks - often you had to slide down on your back. While the group went to a locality on Ölilleelv (with tuperssuatsiate - thank Ole for the specimen) I hiked back with our guide through a beutiful valley with a stream full of migrating (that is jumping the falls and rapids) salmon trouts. A beautiful sight.

Day 5 was spend int he valley below Tasseq/Kvanefjeld again. The weather was really bad, so we had to stay on the valley bottom at the Nye Mine dumps(already in the clouds), which yielded a few more species. We also found huge boulders with large soerensenite crystals/laths, which made the morning worthwhile. In the eartly afternoon part of the group decided to make the ascent to Tasseq in spite of the low clouds and the late hour, whereas I hiked back to town (8 km). In fact they were right and reached the ridge in better weather conditions. They even found the small semenovite spot, but obviously this is more for the specialist, as most were somewhat disappointed, maybe also due to the lack of time they had left up there.

Then came our day off with most of the group taking a trip to the inland ice, while I tried my luck at fishing. It was then that I learned about my nephews critical and to my judgement hopeless condition, so I planned my return flight.
One day later this was adventurous again - the helicopter flight from Narsaq to Narsarsuaq was nice, but then we had to leave all our luggage in Greenland, as the charter pilot (Nordic Airlink MD80 again) was afraid of not making it across the rocky ridge with the additional weight. You can bet I prayed us over the ridge !! There was a 1 hour stop in Iceland again, which together with a delayed take-off in Greenland caused us to arrive in Copenhagen in the middle of the night. Well, the luggage made it to Leverkusen 10 minutes after my arrival - not bad.

That day the group went to the Eriksfjord localities (Ilua, Tuperssuatsiaite), where some nice murmanite and tupi was found - for all I know so far. The following day obviously everyone was somewhat disappointed with the Kringlerne/Lakseelv trip to Kangerdluarssuk again - nothing new and nothing showy. The last morning was spent a Igdlutalik, where nice narsarsukite and massive emeleusite was found.

Well, looking back, and in some accordance with Laszlo Horvath, I would really love to return. Narsarsuk would be worth a 3 days camp and digging deep - though this will soon be over, when the locality will be protected. Kvanefjeld main would also be worth a longer stay, as would be Kangerluarssuk main. Well, and I would have to visit the Tasseq slope and especially Naqalaq Mt., which was not included in our trip.

I would be happy about any feedback !