May 21, 2019

The man who broke through the Northwest Passage

Fifty years ago, a ship long as the Empire State Building sailed toward obstacles that captains usually avoid….Begging his way aboard was Merritt Helfferich, then 31 and a do-all guy at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Helfferich, whose life of adventures also included the first hot-air balloon flight from Barrow, Alaska, died in New Mexico on May 2, 2019. He was 83.


May 17, 2019

Let’s get (Geo)physical

Dispatch: After spending a couple of days doing four hourly rotations around all of the labs, we got to choose which lab we would like to spend the next few days in, to collate all of the data for that lab, plot and analyse the data, and prepare a report for submission to the Chief Scientist for her to compile the overall Voyage Report.


May 16, 2019

Welcome to Monkey Island!

Dispatch: We’re the student team in charge of sea bird and marine mammal surveying from the observation deck, Monkey Island, as we complete a transit from Hobart to Fremantle across the Great Australian Bight.


May 15, 2019

Plankton……they have a face only a mother (or a scientist) could love!

Dispatch: One of the reasons we were interested in visiting this region of ocean was due to the presence of deep-sea canyons and the Bonney Upwelling off the coast of Discovery Bay.


May 14, 2019

Oceanography & Hydrochemistry in the Great Australian Bight

Dispatch: Welcome on board RV Investigator, Australia’s blue water research vessel. We’re currently sailing from Hobart to Fremantle as part of the 2019 Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN) voyage, a hands-on training experience for marine science students.


Back to the Rocky Mountain Front Range…thrust faults at a thick-skinned structural front

This post steps back to the Rocky Mountain Front Range models from a few weeks back in which I used a model that took a large-scale perspective on the Front Range for comparison to some published work.


May 10, 2019

Breath of clams leads to big picture

To learn more about one of the largest environmental changes of our lifetimes, Brittany Jones studies clam breath. She is an expert on creatures that live in the muck covering the underwater continental shelf off western Alaska. There, sea ice waxes and wanes on the relatively shallow waters covering the former Bering Land Bridge.


May 5, 2019

A powdery idea to reduce sea-ice loss

A team of researchers has a plan to slow the melting of northern sea ice using a sand-like substance.


April 29, 2019

The landslide that is too big to notice

The southeast slope of Sinking Creek Mountain in Craig County, Virginia hosts what is certainly one of the largest landslide complexes in eastern North America–and possibly the least noticeable. Despite extending for 15 miles (25 km) along the mountainside…this group of translational blockslides was not documented until 1986 by Art Schultz of the USGS.


April 26, 2019

Warm spring may result in gentle breakup

Following the warmest March Alaskans have ever felt, forecasters are predicting a mellow transition from ice to water for most big rivers in the state. Things don’t always go that way during spring breakup, when chunks of river ice freed from the cold grip of winter can lock up in river bends and back up water into communities.