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January 13, 2020

An abandoned river valley and the “true depth” of Appalachia’s deepest river gorge

This post centers around an oddly meandering, dry valley 800 ft above the northwest wall of the gorge. It’s not much to look at in Google Earth imagery alone, but with enhanced maps and some understanding of how river gorges spread through topography, it gives great context for different ways of thinking about gorge development.

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Northern news from a massive conference

Here are a few scribbles from my notebook on a subsample of the more than 1,000 Alaska talks and posters (at the AGUFallMeeting)…

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January 6, 2020

The physics of forty below

On the road, car headlights cut through the ice fog that hangs over the road like cotton candy. Exhaust, about 250 degrees in the tailpipe, cools to minus 40 in less than 10 seconds after it comes out of the vehicle. Water-cooled that fast turns into tiny particles that make up ice fog. Cars and trucks aren’t the only things that make ice fog. Any source of water vapor will do, including people and dogs.

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Surface uplift and deep fault structure in sandbox models

A particularly interesting method of attempting to understanding deep fault geometry is using patterns of surface landscape evolution to identify the moving zone of uplift above a deep fault ramp. A useful analogy for this concept is to visualize sliding a spatula underneath a cooking egg.

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December 30, 2019

Alaska blackfish in a world of its own

Just how tough is the blackfish? A rural legend is of a blackfish being chipped from a frozen mass of its brethren and fed to a sled dog. The fish thaws and revives in the dog’s stomach, where its wriggling causes the dog to vomit.

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December 23, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 21

We’ve handed the torch and now will be eager fans waiting to hear information from the field. I’m feeling this cavity starting to form inside my chest. Already feeling a sense of loss, a sense of melancholy.

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December 22, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 20

It’s come to the end, of Leg 1 at least. Strange feeling. The Leg 1 personnel moved over to the Kapitan Dranitsin, while the Leg 2 personnel moved over to Polarstern. I was on Polarstern in the afternoon and felt like an intruder. It is their ship now.

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December 21, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 19

Kapitan Dranitsyn arrived yesterday, to great fanfare from people on both ships….. but apparently our ice floe was not as happy to have another ship around. Cracks emanating from the area of the ships headed out in multiple directions.

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December 20, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 18

Today was pretty windy, and that wind bites hard. Holding this boom up to the tower and then attaching it with a bunch of U-bolts. This requires nimble and dexterous hands, my thin silk glove liners. I could get one or two nuts screwed on and then had to stuff my hand back into my glove to get it a bit warmer.

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December 19, 2019

Spreading volcano follow-up: Cross sections showing normal faults and thrust faults

Geo Models: The GIF shows the results of about 15 minutes of deformation with fresh sealant straight out of the tube. The summit of the cone collapses into a graben, and the flanks of the cone spread outward, creating compression that generates thrust faults and folds.

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