Trip Report by Corby Waste

Inuugujoq, kutta! Tikilluarit!

In July, 2004, seven "crazy Americans" went to Greenland to collect rare fluorescent minerals. I was one of them. We went to seven major locations in the world-famous Illimaussaq complex of minerals (see fluorescent Illimausaq specimens ). What was it like? Beautiful and wild! How did I get so lucky to go on this trip-of-a-lifetime? I turned 50 in February of 2004 and my big present was going on "Geo Adventure 2004", as it was called. After many months of planning it was time to fly East out of the Los Angeles area. I had to take three weeks off from my job as a computer graphic artist for the Mars Exploration Program at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. It was fun when I mentioned to the top Mars geologists that I was going rock collecting in Greenland - especially when it turned out that neither one of them had been there. They didn't know that I was a geological explorer, too.

I knew I might never get a chance to go there again so I had to make the most of it. It was a bit like going to the moon or Mars, that way - there would be little time to waste. Here are some of the pictures and stories from the trip - pictures of the fluorescent specimens are still to be added.






First stop: Iceland

  Our jet from Iceland to Narsarsuak, Greenland



Arriving in South Greenland

Satellite view of South Greenland in July + origin of the icebergs




Flight to Narsarsuak





 First sight of Greenland and icebergs

Icebergs off the east coast of Greenland



Icebergs below

   South-east coast of Greenland





Greenland flight: eastern fjords panorama

Fjord's end and beginning of Inland Ice




 Greenland flight: end of the Inland Ice - fjords ahead

 Fjords appeared as we descended towards Narsarsauk




Fjords of south Greenland ahead

Historic Narsarsuak airport on Tunuliarfik fjord







We finally made it to Greenland!

Our group at the Narsarsuak harbor







   Perfect first day in Greenland

 The view on Tunuliarfik fjord heading to Narsaq


Narsaq, home base for Geo Adventure 2004


 Closeup view from space of selected Geo Adventure 2004 locations


Home base for Geo Adventure 2004: Super-panoramic view of Narsaq, South Greenland, the gateway to the Illimaussaq complex


 Small boat harbor, Narsaq panorama



 Narsaq cemetery panorama



   Enjoying the niviarsiaq, Greenland's national flower



The Illimaussaq complex near Narsaq


 The road to Illimaussaq



"Geo Adventuring" locations


Taseq East


 On our first night in Greenland we ascended an area called Taseq East





 Large yellow sodalite specimen from Taseq East

 First night's mineral pile from Taseq East


Fourth of July Kvanefjeld tugtupite hike

(Kvanefjeld is pronounced "Crane-feld")



 The road to Kvanefjeld

The Kvanefeld trail to the tugtupite mines




  Perfect weather - thank the gods!
    Hiking up to the tugtupite mine near the top of Kvanefjeld




Hammering on the slopes of Kvanefjeld

Top of the Kvanefjeld trail with our Greenlandic friends 




 Kvanefjeld 4th of July tugtupite hike

Our main Kvanefjeld tugtupite site








The Kvanefjeld lake

Beautiful summer day at the tugtupite mines





 Swimming in the Kvanefjeld lake

Swimming in the Kvanefjeld lake  





Sun-drying after Fourth of July swim

  Fourth of July evening at the Kvanefjeld tugtupite mines






This is a vein of tugtupite

Lee McIlvaine holding a tugtupite specimen



  Kvanefjeld sunset




Sorensenite hike




Base camp and the "sorensenite boulders"

Sorensenite collecting trip to the boulders below Kvanefjeld



  Panorama from the sorensenite boulder area below Kvanefjeld








  Illimaussaq sunset seen from boulders

A garden of lichens and moss on one of the boulders




Rainy day in the Illimaussaq complex




 Icebergs in the Narsq Elv bay

 Drving into the Illimaussaq complex




The rocky gorge of the Narsaq Elv

Narsaq Elv in the complex





   Illimaussaq complex rainy day drive

Illimaussaq mountain road




Illimaussaq road rain hike

"What a great rock-hunting location!"




The Narsaq Elv on the Illimaussaq mountain road

Face rock collected during Illimaussaq rain hike 




 Unusual rock formation in the mist

Mysterious stone marker



Taseq West



 Icelandic ponies in our base camp below Taseq West

 Icelandic ponies in our base camp






Bridge over the Narsaq Elv near base camp

Crossing the rain-swollen Narsaq Elv







   Crossing the Narsaq Elv

 One rocky step at a time up to Taseq West







Hike from base camp to Taseq West in fog 

  Navigating to the Taseq West location by GPS 





Moss with raindrops 

 Stream moss with raindrops 






The collecting area at Taseq West
  Howie Green collecting at Taseq West






"Taseq soup" boulder, Taseq West - source of the "monster polylithionite"

 Panoramic view from Kvanefjeld to Taseq West 






 Taseq lake panorama, Taseq West   My Thor's hammer pendant on melting snow





    Exploring Taseq West

View of the fjords




 End of the hike: return from Taseq West 





Tunuliarfik fjord





Boat trip to a collecting site on a dark stormy day

  Tunuliarfik fjord panorama






Iceberg near our Tunuliarfik and Tugtup landing sites

 Tunuliarfik landing party - lost in the immensity of the complex




Trail marker discovered on Tunuliarfik fjord   Trail marker discovered on Tunuliarfik fjord







  Stream boulder
   Hiking above the rocky Tunuliarfik fjord shore to collecting site





  Tunuliarfik beach and collecting site panorama

Illimaussaq complex view opposite Tunuliarfik collecting site





 Lee collecting at Tunuliarfik 

My discovery of yellow-green sodalite




The big rock pile at Tunuliarfik

Collecting fun on the fjord








  Flowers among the boulders

Illimaussaq complex, Tunuliarfik fjord (opposite Tugtup)



Tugtup Agtakorfia

I found the rare but non-fluorescent mineral "tundrite" at Tugtup - it's so rare that it has never been found before on a Geo Adventure until this year. Pictures of our long, cold night sleeping on the ground with no camping gear at Tugtup will be added - Ed.



Spending time in Narsaq


On tour of the Narsaq museum

White wooly flowers



Kangerlussaq fjord

 Super-panoramic view of the end of Kangerlussaq fjord


Kangerlussaq fjord campsite panorama





Edge of the Illimaussaq complex at end of Kangerlussaq fjord

Friable syenite boulders



 Enjoying the lost world of Kangri-la


End of the trip










Exhausted from 10-days and nights of mining and transporting fluorescent minerals in cold Greenlandic weather

  Returning up Tunuliarfik fjord to Narsarsuak airport 






Journey's end: Return to Narsarsuak dock 

 Dramatic first minutes of the return flight to Iceland





Geo Adventure 2004 Stereo 3D
Please use only red and cyan (light blue) glasses, the red and dark blue glasses won't work.





Mysterious stone marker
   Bridge over Narsaq Elv near base camp




 "Taseq soup" boulder, Taseq West    Stream boulder, Tunuliarfik fjord 



  Friable syenite boulders, Kangerlussaq fjord


Stereo anaglyphs created by Corby Waste at the Illimaussaq complex during Geo Adventure 2004, in South Greenland. I shot them using a "normal" camera, not a stereo camera.







Site of fluorescent mineral field collector Corby Waste


Our fellow Geo-Adventurer Herb Yeates has several sites:

Fluorescent Illimaussaq

Illimaussaq 2005


Geo Adventure 2004 was led by Mark Cole of



*Inuugujoq, kutta! Tikilluarit! is Greenlandic for "Hello! Welcome!"

More about Greenland (in Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaat and in Danish: Grønland)


Greenland and Polar Scientific Research



Trip report author: Corby Waste

© Copyright 2006 by Corby Waste