Photomicrographs of Thin Sections from the Skaergaard Intrusion, Greenland

Tall Tales

The Skaergaard Intrusion, located in East Greenland, is an igneous rock body that crystallized in the upper crust of the Earth. It formed from an isolated pool of magma and is, perhaps, the most studied igneous body on the planet. By my last count, more than 400 papers have been written about its petrology, geology and genesis.

The importance of the Skaergaard Intrusion to igneous petrologists is immense and derives from the foundational work of two men: L.R. Wager and W.A. Deer.

The intrusion was discovered by Wager in 1931. Wager was a petrologist and mountain climber. He climbed on Everest in 1933 where he set an altitude record for climbing to a record elevation without oxygen. The record stood until 1974. Wager devoted his professional career to the study of the Skaergaard and similar intrusions. In 1950 he took the position of Chair of Geology at Oxford University. Deer was a mineralogist and petrologist and Professor of Mineralogy and Petrology at Cambridge University. Deer also was co-author of the Rock Forming Minerals, an authoritative reference for mineralogists and petrologists world-wide.

Wager and Deer spent a year (1935-36) mapping and sampling the intrusion Their original paper was published in 1939.

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