On cold winter nights long ago, Harvey Gilliland of Petersburg sometimes woke to the buzz of an alarm mounted on the wall of his kitchen. He kicked off the blanket, got dressed, pulled on his rubber boots, and strolled three city blocks to the building in which he worked.
A few months ago, I wrote about adventurer/permafrost scientist Kenji Yoshikawaâ€™s attempt to drive a snowmachine 3,500 miles from Prudhoe Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. He planned to stop along the way to visit students in 13 villages. Near their schools, he wanted to drill holes in the ground and see how cold it is.
Mosquitoes and black flies, now stirring after a long winter, have probably helped assure that most of Alaska remains unpopulated, says an expert on those creatures.
On a small hill surrounded by boggy muskeg in the Tanana River Valley, prehistoric skin scrapers made of schist, polished slate tools and glass beads were uncovered in the last week.
Every summer, Alaskaâ€™s glaciers melt and send vast quantities of water gushing through silty gray rivers, past towns and villages and finally into the sea. Some glaciers calve directly into the ocean, instantly losing car-sized chunks of ice and wowing boats full of tourists.
The trick to getting a good ice core is to drill straight down into the sea ice, continually clear the slush gurgling up from the ocean, correctly reassemble the core fragments on the tray, take its temperature every couple of inches before it melts or cools, and saw it into hockey-puck-sized chunks without dropping them […]
On the 5-mile snowmachine ride up to Point Barrow, we saw several fresh polar bear tracks the size of dinner plates, a pile of whalebones from last year, and a 3-foot-wide crack in the sea ice that could swallow a sled. The crack was created when an ice floe in the open water crashed into […]
Near a small village in Russia, Marina Ivanova stepped into cross-country skis and kicked toward a hole in the snow. The meteorite specialist with the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and Vernadsky Institute in Moscow was hunting for fragments of the great Chelyabinsk Meteorite that exploded three days earlier.
An April snowstorm whirling outside my window today seems to be announcing the postponement of spring. As I sit here watching the show, it makes me think back to the shortest summer ever.