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October 23, 2020

Fireball in the sky over Alaska

Fee, who is also a researcher with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, finds infrasound useful for capturing the explosive roar of volcanoes. Scientists have also detected the aurora borealis stirring the thin air above us, and the air disturbed by far-off mine explosions. And, it turns out, infrasound is also a good tool for measuring the path of space rocks screaming through the 30-mile shell of gases surrounding our planet.

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October 15, 2020

Cold tolerance not the same for everyone

A 9-year-old Carl Tape — now a seismologist at UAF’s Geophysical Institute — poses beside a thermometer registering 50 below zero Fahrenheit during a Fairbanks cold snap in January 1989.

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Normal fault, reverse fault, or both?

The new model, whose color scheme is admittedly quite shocking (think Pepto-Bismol bottle), is shown… The interesting fault is at the center of the image. The fault is traced in black in the lower image, with arrows indicating movement sense.

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October 5, 2020

Interesting “sideways” movement of a large sandstone blockslide

A large sandstone blockslide in Highland County, Virginia presents an unusual appearance in LiDAR hillshade imagery–it appears to have moved sideways across a slope instead of directly down the slope.

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October 2, 2020

Fall equinox and the big turn

On the first day of October, a little girl pulls on her rubber boots and rushes outside into crisp fall air. She knows the days are getting shorter, but she doesn’t realize Alaska is a week past the autumnal equinox. On the equinox, the sun appears to sit over Earth’s equator, causing days and nights to each last about 12 hours everywhere in the world. It is time for Alaskans to start paying the bill for all that summer daylight.

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September 24, 2020

Message from a lonely Alaska island

That 85-year-old scientist — David Klein — is now 93. He lives in Fairbanks. He was my neighbor when he last journeyed to St. Matthew Island. I went on that trip with him and a dozen others. Klein was my cheery tent-mate.

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LiDAR reveals the cloth-like appearance of a “wrinkled” translational landslide

The Virginia Valley and Ridge hosts plenty of amazing landslide features, but this wrinkled translational slide in Botetourt County, Virginia is particuarly eye-catching. It reminds me of the wrinkling that might occur in a thin layer of cloth pushed along a smooth surface–something like pushing a napkin or tablecloth along a tabletop.

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September 21, 2020

Earthquakes and insects on Alaska road trips

A few nights ago, stretched in a tent on the blue-gray gravel of the Lowe River floodplain, I woke to a series of sharp jolts. It felt like the earth was a giant halibut, and I was the fishing pole.

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September 19, 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 60 — Last Ice

We are now in open water and have left the ice behind. In the last hours we cruised through the last remnants of ice. Little chunks floating alone, their hours numbered out here in the water that is now creeping slightly above the melting point.

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September 18, 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 59

There are many reasons to go out and recover the various assets that we’ve placed out on the ice.  And so this is now our mission with Tryoshnikov; to finish what we’ve started in the past days with Polarstern.

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