My second trip to Finland had to be in winter. Well, not winter absolutely – but the lakes still had to be frozen if we were to have any chance of drilling.
Why did we want to drill in a lake? I hear you ask…
To explain: We were looking for kimberlite pipes – the host rock for diamonds. A typical kimberlite intrusion looks like an oversized carrot in the ground. It is the result of super-duper, hot molten lava from the mantle that has punched its way upwards through the Earth’s crust. Kimberlite weathers more readily than other rock-types, such as granite, so the resulting surface topography can often be visible as a circular depression. In watery places, like Finland, these depressions are often lakes. I’m sure you will agree that it isn’t particularly easy to drill in the middle of a lake. Luckily for us, the winter had nicely frozen a good number of perfectly circular lakes.
Up near the Arctic Circle – the lakes and rivers were still frozen in April-early May, but the weather was not nearly so cold as mid-winter.
Mind you, in saying that – I distinctly remember a few nights registering -35C on the thermometer – and there were a couple of late afternoons, walking back from the sauna to the chalet, where icicles formed on my hair! – It was only a 100m stroll!!
Photography was somewhat limited to trees and snow – with weak and watery sunlight. The sun was probably already setting around lunch-time
You can tell I was quite happy taking photos of trees. There were a couple of stand-outs – curious, natural sculptures:
And there were plenty of forest shots, too:
It was also on this trip that I saw the most fantastic display of the Northern Lights. Alas, I took no photographs to bear witness to my testimony. It was at 3am, on return from visiting a drill-rig. Yes, we were drilling 24 hours a day, which meant that we had to be available to check the progress at any given moment – 24 hours a day. I’m not complaining though, had it not been for being an “on-call Geologist” – I might never have seen the Northern Lights at all!
Near Rovaniemi, Finland – April/May 1996