Traveler Bio

Have you heard the saying that Iceland is mostly green, while Greenland is mostly ice? It's true! About 80% of the massive island of Greenland is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet. The ice sheet is almost 10,000 feet thick in places (almost two miles), and gravity is constantly pulling it downhill and toward Greenland's coasts. 

As the ice sheet moves towards the ocean it flows as rivers of ice called glaciers. At the end (toe) of the glacier, huge chunks break off into the ocean. These are—you guessed it—icebergs! These icebergs float in the ocean, moving with the ocean currents, while also gradually melting and releasing dirt and rocks that settle on the seabed. This slow-but-steady process has been occurring for more than 30 million years.

Fast-forward to today. If we want to search for clues about the last 30 million years of the Greenland Ice Sheet's life, we know exactly where to look! The NW Greenland Glaciated Margin Expedition is traveling to the northwestern coast of Greenland aboard a scientific drilling vessel called JOIDES Resolution to study that exact question—and you are invited to join the adventure. Together we will witness everyday life aboard a working research vessel, see how core samples are collected from the bottom of the ocean, and meet the team that collects and examines these important clues to understanding the past.

What will we discover? Let's join the expedition and find out!

Educators, register your class for this free virtual exchange expedition here.