Saturday, July 2, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: June 28th by Enrica Lucca and Ellie McGrew

This article and the images originally appeared on KTH's Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic blog. 

There you can read about the Arctic course taking place in the summer of 2016! The participating students from KTH Royal Institute of Technology together with the students of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are writing about their experiences throughout the course.

June 28th by Enrico Lucca and Ellie McGrew

Exciting day with planned visits and unexpected meetings in Kiruna

Personal profiles:

My name is Enrico Lucca and I am 23 years old. I am pursuing the last year of a Double Degree in Environmental Engineering at KTH and at Politecnico of Torino, in Italy.

Ellie McGrew: I’ll be starting my fourth year at the University of Illinois this fall majoring in earth and environmental sciences with a minor in geography. I really enjoy outdoor adventures and a trip to the Swedish Arctic sounded like a great one; plus this trip included different topics which link closely with what I’m interested in studying.

After an energizing breakfast we walked through the town aiming for the base of the “Midnattsolstigen” (Midnight Sun Trail): a 2 hour trail which goes up to the top of the Luossavaara mountain (724 m). Even before starting the trail the idea had been to come back there during the “night” to experience for the first time the Midnight Sun, but the weather forecast was not encouraging.

The Kiruna municipality has installed panels all along the trail giving information about mining, Sami history, reindeer herding, geomorphology and flora and fauna of the Luossavaraa mountain. Once we hiked through the woodland and crossed the tree line, we ended in the low alpine zone from where we had a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. We observed several signs of the so called technological mega-system for Norbotten, which was built in the early 1900’s to support the mining activities: power lines, highway, railway, waste rock terraces, the remains of prospecting activities and old open pits which are now filled with groundwater. These infrastructures and the old pits represent obstacles for the reindeer herding, which has its routes from the winter to the summer grazing fields going in the SW- NE direction.

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