Cruising-altitude geography (Kujalleq & James Bay)

Yesterday I flew from London to Minneapolis – a westbound and therefore endless afternoon, a trick played against winter’s abstemious daytime clock. I’m in Minneapolis for a two-week stint at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, where I’ll be running some experiments in a custom-rigged sandbox. But more on that in posts to come.

Right now I’m still revelling in some of yesterday’s sights. Our flight path took us over southern Greenland, somewhere near the Kujalleq county boundary. North Atlantic cloud cover west of Iceland cleared to reveal ice-sheet-wrapped peaks on Greenland’s eastern shore; clouds over the interior then cleared again, and we could see snowfields cascading off the western coast into the Labrador Sea. I didn’t think I was looking at snow, but then I saw bedforms – dunes, strange pillowing, and drag features of pinnacles just piercing the surface of the icepack. I’m also pretty sure I saw a log-spiral bay eroded into the floating pack ice – and maybe even a kind of ephemeral inlet? (See the grainy, hunting-for-Nessy picture.) No idea what the scale is – tens of km, anyway.

Later, from my seat over the wing, James Bay appeared in the triangle of ground I could see between the horizon and the engine. Some lovely meandering river traces visible, bright in their snowy coats.

And, not to be outdone, spectacular clouds over southern Ontario, as we came in above Thunder Bay and Superior National Forest.

Excited to be here. To be continued – lab work begins on Monday.

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