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Waterfall hunt

where are we?

Since Sarah Das arrived on the ice sheet, she has been looking for the perfect waterfall. Not to photograph or for a really cold swim, but for an experiment to trace how lake water drains through the ice, over the bedrock, and out to the ocean. With her at camp are nine pounds of non-toxic, powdered fluorescent dye that she plans to pour into a waterfall flowing into a moulin, or hole, in the ice sheet.

“My first thought was to use bouncy balls or rubber ducks,” she said during a six hour hike south of our camp this afternoon. “But I wanted something that I could trace that wasn’t buoyant or get stuck somewhere under the ice.”

Once released, she estimates that the dye will take between a half day to one week to flow 40 kilometers from the interior ice sheet before appearing south of Ilulissat on the west coast of Greenland. Her afternoon search with the rest of the team for a safe spot to pour in the dye took her to a huge, drained lake bed, measuring three kilometers in diameter. While there, she found her waterfall. It’s safe, to be sure. But it’s anything but docile.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »


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