24 Aug 2015

Caving at 80.4 degrees North

After more than two years of planning and thanks to the support by a number of sponsors (including the National Geographic Society, Comer Family Foundation, University of Minnesota and Innsbruck, and the Petzl Foundation) a group of scientists (Gina Moseley, Christoph Spötl), rope access experts (Chris Blakeley, Mark Wright) and a professional cave photographer (Robbie Shone) embarked on a 3-week expedition on July 26th. Supported by CASP (Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme) and with logistics support from Clive Johnson, the team managed to visit and survey some of the most remotest caves on Earth, located in Northeast Greenland. The goal of this expedition was to assess the palaeoclimatic potential of carbonate deposits (speleothems) in these caves, whose existence has been known since the 1960s. To our surprise, several of these caves and cave ruins preserved calcitic speleothems, some with astonishing thickness. The team managed to retrieve samples that will be analysed in the near future and which may offer new insights into Greenland´s much warmer past.

National Geographic
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