I heard about the Degree Confluence Project from a fellow geologist and was immediately intrigued. I only wish I new about it earlier as there are a few sites I have passed over without recording in the past – but hey that gives me an opportunity to head back out there again.
At the moment I am managing a diamond exploration project on north Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, Canada. We hold a large land package and I was recently out in the area of 80W and 71N scouting out a site for a new campsite for an upcoming drill program.
We have been involved in a project trying to locate the source of a
(the volcanic rock which hosts diamonds). This entails collecting small soil samples and analyzing them for kimberlitic traces and trying to unravel their dispersion history due to the last period of glaciation. Once we have a better idea were the source is we do a series of airborne and ground geophysical surveys to better resolve potential targets which we then test with a drill rig and hopefully hit what we were looking for – which happens a lot less than the brief description suggests. Well enough of the geology 101 lecture.
I was out with two fellow geologists Doug Winzar and Ron Avery and as we were about to finish up for the day and head for base camp I thought I would spring on them a surprise visit to 71N and 80W. I suppose I should mention even though we are well within the Arctic Circle and more than 150km from the closest settlement getting around is pretty easy if you have a helicopter at your disposal.
I guided our pilot to within 100m of the site and then we had the arduous task of walking the last few metres through a swampy patch of tundra. The overview photo shows the tundra and the wet spot between the confluence and the helicopter. I have submitted 4 pictures of the 4 cardinal points, a few team shots and a satellite image of the area.
The one bit of advice I should give is make sure your camera batteries are fully charged. I just had enough power to switch the camera on (making sure the LCD display was off) and grab the shots. I did not have enough battery power to check the pictures out in field and the GPS picture is a bit out of focus and has some glare off the screen. You can make out 71° 00’ 00.0” N but the longitude is a bit difficult to make out. You can see all the zero’s but not the 8. I hope you will take my word for it. We were using a pretty beat up Garmin 12XL and probably had an error of 3 to 4m at these latitudes, the elevation was 177 masl.
The terrain is typical tundra, no trees, millions of mosquitoes, the odd caribou and lots of lakes. The day we visited the site was a beautiful balmy summers day hovering around 2° C. The area is generally flat with rolling hills with scattered granitic glacial erratics underlain by limestone. All 4 view directions look almost the same, even more so in winter.
Time now to head out and bag a few more in some really remote spots.