Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Journalism

Advisor

Larry Foley

Committee Member

Dale Carpenter

Second Committee Member

Matt Covington

Keywords

Arctic, Documentary, Expedition, Glaciology, Greenland, Moulin

Abstract

This observation-style nonfiction documentary film follows a National Science Foundation expedition to the Greenland ice sheet. The bivouac lasted for 25 continuous days. University of Arkansas Professor of Geosciences Matt Covington, Ph.D. teamed up with University of South Florida Professor Jason Gulley, Ph.D. to plan, propose, and ultimately accomplish the research goals of the expedition with the assistance of Ph.D. student Celia Trunz, M.S., and experienced expeditionary team member Vickie Siegel. As an observational-style documentary film, all scientific background information imparted herein is taken directly from interviews conducted with Professor Covington, to minimize opining.

The film begins in mid-flight, as a military C-130 aircraft transports more than a dozen researchers and their equipment from Albany, New York to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Professor Covington introduces himself and provides a background introduction to Professor Gulley. The narrator introduces the remaining two expedition members, Vickie Siegel and Celia Trunz. An Air Greenland helicopter transports team members and their gear to the glacier, while Professor Covington gives a brief synopsis on the purpose of their experiments. A moulin is a glacial formation that allows melt water to reach the base of the ice through fissures that seasonally expand and compact. As the helicopter departs, leaving the team on the glacier, it begins to snow. The expedition team is stuck in place for the entire first week, only able to construct a weather station and send out drones to find a moulin to examine. Eventually, they are able to locate and attempt instrumentation of a moulin, which proves difficult with a lack of adequate meltwater. They are forced to abandon the effort and relocate to another moulin, which also defies instrumentation until the 24th day. Ultimately, the experiment is successful, with the data retrieved from the moulin sensors raising new questions about moulins’ effect on glaciers.

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