During the 2019 expedition, we used photogrammetry to make 3D models of some of the caves in Northeast Greenland. By ‘playing’ the models, you too can take a trip through the caves. Working the controls can be a bit tricky.

If you are on a desktop, you can zoom in and out by using the wheel on the mouse. To swivel left and right, move the mouse left and right. To pan left and right, hold down the shift key at the same time as moving the mouse.

If you are on a touch screen device, you can zoom in and out and pan left and right using two fingers. One finger will swivel left and right.

U-Tut Ilusilik Qaarusussuaq (U-Shaped Cave)

U-Tut Ilusilik Qaarusussuaq (U-shaped Cave) is one of the first caves to be discovered in Greenland, having been explored in 1960 by a team from the US Geological Survey (Davies & Krinsley, 1960). Being ‘U’ in shape (from which it gets its name), it is also one of the most distinctive and recognised of all the Greenland caves. The northern entrance is c.13m wide by c.10m high, and the southern entrance is c.8m wide by c.5m high. A c.8m high chimney is present in the ceiling, c.13m from the northern entrance. The floor is generally horizontal and covered by sediment (Tischler et al., 2020), though breakdown exists locally in places. Ice is present in a thin band along the base of the walls. No speleothems were found, but the walls near the entrances contain patches of a hard microbiologically-mediated calcite precipitate. Small photokarren in the twilight zone of the southern entrance are also observed (Barton et al., 2020a) (excerpt from Moseley et al., 2020).

North entrance: +80.37652, -21.73545, 533m a.s.l. South entrance: +80.37626, -21.73757, 530m a.s.l.

Surveyed cave length: 95m

Inussuk Innartooq Qaarusussuaq (Cairn Climb Cave)

Inussuk Innartooq Qaarusussuaq (Cairn Climb Cave) is formed at the contact between the Samuelsen Høj and Odins Fjord Formations (Smith and Rasmussen, 2020). Accessing the cave requires climbing a steep c.5m-high slightly overhanging face. The entrance is c.7m wide by c.5m high, and just inside there is a cairn built by previous visitors. Underneath the top stone of the cairn are the remains of a handkerchief with three embroided initials that are barely visible. The walls of the cave contain an iron oxide coating and photokarren (Barton et al., 2020a). The rear of the cave is blocked by a wall of ice, and nearby is one of the best displays of ‘cryogenic frostwork’ observed in any of the studied caves (Barton et al., 2020b) (excerpt from Moseley et al., 2020).

Entrance: +80.37756, -21.71019, 540m a.s.l.

Surveyed cave length: 19m

Eqik Qaarusussuaq (Cove Cave)

Eqik Qaarusussuaq (Cove Cave) is the longest explored cave in Greenland, with 103.1m of surveyed passage. It extends linearly in an E-W direction, generally trending downwards from the entrance over an elevation range of c.15m. The entrance contains a wall-to-wall ice pond, which is difficult to bypass. Beyond the ice pond, a small ramp made of breakdown leads to a hoar frost-covered ceiling from which the phreatic passage then descends. The floor is covered in breakdown and shattered flowstone blocks, and in places there are cryogenic cave carbonates both in the entrance ice and lying on boulders within the cave. The rear of the cave contains a c.5m-deep vadose canyon that is covered on both sides in flowstone. The rear of the cave ends in a ceiling-to-floor flowstone blockage. The coldest cave temperature in Greenland was recorded at the base of the vadose slot and continues as a too-tight passage, which could possibly be enlarged with digging (excerpt from Moseley et al., 2020). Unfortunately we struggled a bit with the photogrammetry modelling because of the shiny ice, which made it difficult for the software to identify equal positions. This was our first attempt though and we have learnt a lot, so we will be able to improve the models next time.

Entrance: +80.25346, -21.93311, 660m a.s.l.

Surveyed cave length: 103m