Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

I had never heard of Kangerlussuaq until Jakob Vinther came to MIT Fall ‘17 to present his work on dinosaur coloration. Jakob had recently been to Greenland and had found an exceptionally preserved fish fossil right by the Kangerlussuaq airport (below). He then gave it to Roger Summons and I to see what we could learn from it via lipid analysis.

We determined that prevailing euxinic conditions due to sulfate-reducing bacteria at Kangerlussuaq may have enhanced soft-tissue preservation, possibly due rapid concretion encapsulation. However, the role of abiotic mechanism such as reduction by H2S (e.g., hydrogenation) and sulfurization of lipids cannot be evaluated yet as work on sulfur-bound lipids is ongoing.

These results were too interesting to not go back and get more samples!

Sediments by the airport are elevated glaciomarine deposits which have recently been exposed due to isostatic rebound from the Last Glacial Maximum.

All pictures were taken on a iPhone 8 Plus and Fujifilm X-T3.