August 9, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 47

It’s getting hard to keep track as there have been so many bears lately. Visits in the evening-to-early-morning going into last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then here again last night (Monday). And this morning at 4:30 am.


August 8, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 46

The real highlight of the evening for me was the group photo time prior to the festivities. We set up a line of flags, the 20 flags of MOSAiC nations, all strung next to each other. This was placed just beyond a scenic melt pond. In front of that pond we put the big MOSAiC flag, held tight on some boards.


August 7, 2020

Bears alert scientists to secret salmon streams

Right now, on the brushy tundra of northern Alaska, grizzly bears are gathering at quiet streams and rivers, attracted by the largest calorie reward they can find — spawning salmon. Until recently, scientists did not know salmon swam up some of these waterways, nor that grizzlies were fattening up on them before entering hibernation.


Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 45

Today is not Sunday. Nor was yesterday. But we’ve spent both mornings onboard the ship like on a typical Sunday because we’ve had a polar bear around the area. First thing yesterday morning there was an announcement over the intercom about a bear on the port side. As is typically the case, people run for their cameras and head out to the decks.


August 6, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 44

Flying out over this diverse ice pack. One thing that struck me about the flight was the number of dirty ice floes. There are many others like our floe, and some that are much dirtier, black and gray.


August 5, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 43

Last week there would be periods of the day when melt was rampant, but then periods when the surface would freeze. Thin layers of ice would form on the top of melt ponds. That phenomenon has shifted now and we are not really seeing major shifts during the day anymore; the system appears to be mostly in a permanent melt state.


August 4, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 42

The many faces of ice. So fascinating. Today I found myself sitting on the surface, digging through little pockets of this ice and that ice. Exploring their different textures and sounds. And tastes (mostly fresh!).


August 3, 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 41

“…out here in our Arctic bubble there are actually days that I don’t even think about the coronavirus. It doesn’t even pop into my head. I guess this would be impossible at home. But out here there is no virus, no social distance needed.”


July 31, 2020

Banana slugs ooze over coastal Alaska

Not just ravens, but crows too! Pink salmon squirting like greased torpedoes through clear lagoons. The pop of kelp air sacks when stepped on at low tide. A salty tang in the air. But maybe the most striking thing was oozing along a wet trail by our boots: A Pacific banana slug.


July 28, 2020

Fault-propagation folds in a sandbox model

New from The Geo Models: “These anticlines are recognizable as fault-propagation folds because the fault that offsets the deepest blue layer does not cut upward through the entire section. Displacement along the fault at depth is accommodated by folding of the overlying, un-faulted layers.”