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> June 8, 2006, How did that boulder get on top of the hill?
post Jun 17 2006, 02:00 PM
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How did that boulder get on top of the hill?

I was astonished to see how much Kangerlussauq changed since I first arrived over two weeks ago. What was once a rocky and barren mountainside was now home to bright and colorful flowers!

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As soon as we landed, Mike was eager to go for a hike. We had been living in a world of white and blue for so long that I wasn’t prepared for the greens, browns, yellows and purples that were bombarding my eyes. I changed from my three layers of clothes into a pair of jeans and my long-sleeve TREC shirt.

Our hiking group met outside the K.I.S.S. building. Our goal was to hike to the top of a hill on the outskirts of town, walk along the ridge, and then come down the hill in time for dinner.

As we started our climb, I noticed that the ridge of the mountain was dotted with big boulders. That was very odd. It seemed like boulders should be at the bottom of the hill, not at the top. “How did they get there?” I wondered.

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Hiking in Kaangerlussauq

We decided we needed to take a closer look at these boulders. After 45 minutes of hiking, we reached our destination.

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Mr. McMahon standing on the boulder.

Do you have an idea of how this boulder got here? If you are thinking that it fell from the sky, you are on the right track.

To understand how this boulder got here, look at the picture below.

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Hiking in Kangerlussuaq.

Using your imagination, I need you to put your finger on the edge of this picture about 3/4 of the way up from the bottom. Then, draw a horizontal line across this picture. Next, I want you to take an imaginary paintbrush and paint the bottom 3/4 of the picture white. Finally, I want you to take your imaginary paintbrush and paint a gray boulder in the middle of your white scene.

As you may have guessed, I wanted you get an idea of what this place might have looked like thousands of years ago when this area was covered with a glacier. As long as the weather stayed cool, the boulder would be trapped in the snow and ice and would move with the snow and ice as the ice sheet moved. Once the weather got too warm and the ice sheet started to melt, “ploppppp”. Gravity would take over and the rock would drop through the slushy melting ice and land on the ground. This boulder probably hasn’t moved since the day it was released from its icy prison.

We had a wonderful two and a half hour hike. By the time we made it back to town for “aftensmad”, we were very, very hungry.

Arctic Fact of the Day: The official language of Greenland is Greenlandic. The second language is Danish, which is spoken by nearly everyone in Greenland. “Morgenmad” (breakfast), “frokost” (lunch) and “aftensmad” (dinner), were three important Danish words that we learned while we stayed in Kangerlussauq.
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