Science and adventure: ULB takes part in Nanok Expedition

In April 2022, Gilles and Nathan, two Belgians, will begin their extraordinary expedition. They set themselves the crazy challenge of carrying out a triathlon in Greenland combining polar expedition, sea kayaking and climbing over a period of 5 months, in total autonomy.

As part of this extraordinary project, the two adventurers were keen to add a scientific dimension. This is how they began a collaboration with the ULB, and more particularly with researchers Nadine Mattielli, Sibylle Boxho and Steeve Bonneville.

I think Nathan and Gilles were looking to have a scientific component for their expedition. I think it’s really something we miss, to have people who get involved in science. Nanok is a great project because led by two explorers full of dynamism, and it’s really a great sporting but also scientific project. The synergy is really very interesting because they make it possible to reach regions that are very difficult to access, which are preserved and therefore for which you don’t have to reach 30 on the ground. You have to protect them really well. says Nadine Mattielli and Steeve Bonneville.

What is the point of an expedition like the Nanok project?

“In Greenland, we realized that there was a very dark area in terms of satellite imagery. We have seen that it tended to expand. And we’ve seen that one of the processes that causes this area to get darker and darker, well, is the algal growths. In fact, when you have a dark spot on ice, it melts in a hurry. This task is really huge. It is an area that is about 400 km long and about a hundred kilometers wide. Here, we are about the same size as Belgium. What interests us within the framework of Nanok, is to understand a little better the processes which govern this dark task, and to see a little the influence of dust, of atmospheric deposition. In fact, this dust is what fuels these algae and governs their growth. Understanding the processes by which deposition influences algal growth gives us better ways to predict the evolution of this area. » develops Steve Bonneville.

“Using the tools we have developed, we will be able to understand the processes of dust deposition. And the processes of dust deposition give us an idea of ​​atmospheric paleo-circulation. When we review major climatic changes, in fact, the study of dust gives us an idea of ​​the position of the winds, and from there, of how the climate reacted to brutal climatic variations. ” keep on going Steve Bonneville.

What are you going to achieve as part of this collaboration?

“What Nathan and Gilles are going to do is take samples of snow that has accumulated over the year. And then we’re going to collect those samples and analyze those particles, and the chemistry of those particles. In fact, we can run algorithms that allow us to determine the source of these particles. Does it come from Europe, North America or further afield? For example, we know that part of the dust in Greenland can come from the desert in northern China and sometimes also from the Sahara. » Explain Steve Bonneville

“This sampled snow, we will melt it very slowly. This will allow us to pass this melted snow over a filter and it is on this filter that we will collect our dust. And so, the other analysis that we will also perform on these filters is to analyze the phosphorus concentrations. Phosphorus being an element that feeds possible algae or bacteria or other organisms in Greenland. And our goal is to know if there are already nutrients and if it comes through the dust. » developed Sibyl Boxho.

A final word?

Today we realize that there is more and more of a gap between what the public understands by geology and what we actually teach or what we actually do there. I fear that to this day, there is really a parallelism between geology, and the fact that it is only used to exploit mines, to search for oil. But what we really do, in earth sciences, in geology, we are there to study and understand the processes of the Earth. And it is fundamental to protect it. And this project is really a very good showcase so that this more negative aspect of geology is put to the side a little, and that we also understand that this geology is really important and that young people really have all the skills to be able to study in this area and really enrich their ability to appropriate the environment in a more sustainable way. concludes Nadine Mattielli.

Nanok Expedition?

The Nanok project also collaborates with the Royal Observatory of Belgium and the ULg. Many scientific approaches have been launched in order to bring a dimension of public utility to the project, and above all, to bring the experience of the field so necessary to the scientists.

For those who have not yet heard of this atypical project, Nanok Expedition is a sporting achievement coming to life in Greenland. An atypical and one-of-a-kind triathlon successively combining a crossing of

600 km on skis along the Arctic Circle

1000 km in sea kayak

· 1 km of vertical climbing for the opening of a ‘big wall’ route in adventure terrain.

An ambitious, innovative and exciting project. Do you also want to take part in the expedition in one way or another? Individual, Company, Expert adventurer or simply curious, it’s possible! Visit their website for more information:

Take part in the Nanok project.

NANOK, 5-month polar triathlon in skiing, kayaking and climbing in Greenland, in the service of science. Sioux productions is preparing a documentary film which will relate the fantastic exploits. And they need you!

Synopsis of the movie: Faced with the desert expanse of the ice sheet and the icy scorch of the wind that slaps their faces at more than 100 km/h, Gilles and Nathan, in their early thirties, become aware of the insolence of their project. A unique five-month expedition of skiing, sea kayaking and climbing without assistance through Greenland, one of the most hostile corners of the globe. Throughout the trip, they collect valuable environmental data for three Belgian research centers. How did two ordinary Brussels residents come to undertake this extraordinary project? What does it mean to be an explorer in 2022, when there are no more lands to discover but a planet to preserve?

Link to crowdfunding:

The Nanok project is supported by the Clyde and Bonnie agency.

Clyde and Bonnie, alias Nicolas Hubin and Charlotte Creplet, have been supporting entrepreneurs for more than 10 years in the development of their project. The Nanok project was one more challenge that Clyde and Bonnie wanted to take on. This support takes the form of both coaching and training, in Digital Marketing, Lean Methodology and Growth Marketing. The more impact, the better, of course…


Instagram: @clyde.and.bonnie_adventure

Find all the news of Nanok Expedition:




And also follow the adventure on FreeRide by DH Les Sports+.


Facebook :


Source by [author_name]

Related Stories



Popular Categories



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here