Some pictures taken during fieldwork.
Fieldwork in Ireland and UK
Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of a volcanic eruption which occurred 50 to 60 million years ago. The hexagonal morphology of the basaltic columns is a result of the contraction as the mass cooled, leaving pillarlike structures.
White Rocks Beach is located in Coleraine (Derry, North Ireland). It consist of rugged cliffs made of chalk (Ulster White Limestone) formed by coccoliths (skeletons of unicelular algae which built up on the sea floor). Courses of flint can be seen running through the chalk.
AMASE (Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition), 2009 [See more information here]
AMASE 2009, the expedition’s goals were to integrate and test two new instruments for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover and four for ESA’s ExoMars rover using the FIDO (Field Integrated Design and Operations) rover from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an advanced mobility platform, as well as test protocols for the future Mars Sample Return mission. During this expedition the conditions in which extremophiles thrive in glacial ice were studied, protocols to search for past and present habitable environments on icy planets were tested and developed. All of this is work that needs to be done before sending the next new generation of landers and rovers over the next few decades.
The official photograph from AMASE 2009. Since 2003 AMASE has introduced a tradition: every year all participants have to dress as ‘Men in Black’ and for the official pictures. In 2009 the picture was been taken aboard the Lance, our ship, close to Ny-Alesund during the last day of the expedition. Picture by Kjell Ove Storvik.
Fieldwork in Denmark
Stevns Klint is a white cliff which is located 6 km SW of Store Heddinge on the Danish island of Zealand. It is composed of chalk and an overlaying hard limestone. Between the chalk and the limestone is a layer of so-called “fish clay” containing an iridium geochemical anomaly. It is easily visible and measuring up to several centimeters in width. No iridium has been found in the chalk or limestone surrounding the fish layer. This “fish clay” layer is located at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (known as the K/Pg boundary) and gave rise to a hypothesis that the impact of a massive extraterrestrial object caused the extinction of dinosaurs –among many other species– 65.5 million years ago.