December 4, 2019

There are tension gashes in my yogurt (but I ate it anyway)

As a student, I thought the gash patterns were great, but I always struggled to understand their relationship to shear zone orientation in the context of the stress field…This is where the yogurt comes into play. Some very nice en echelon tension gash sets appeared in my Greek yogurt a few weeks ago when I squeezed the plastic container.


November 27, 2019

Plastic discs keep returning home

In August, UAF scientist Ben Jones was hiking near Drew Point on the northern coast of Alaska. He noticed pilot Jim Webster walking toward him, while flicking a little yellow Frisbee his way.
That yellow plastic disc, about 7 inches round, had a message stamped on it: If the finder returned it to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, he or she would receive a $1 reward.


Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 14

I was startled by the phone call shortly after midnight. Trouble at Met City. Felix had just arrived on the bridge for his night watch from 12-4am. He always takes a look around camp when arriving for his duties. And there was no 30m mast. Simply gone


November 26, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 13

It looks like the bear walked around the station and first yanked on a cable to the sonic anemometer, shattering a metal connector. He then jerked on a few other cables, totally pulling them apart and breaking another connector that was inside our main box…And then he found the good stuff: the exhaust from the fuel cell power system is water.


November 19, 2019

A different take on the model volcano, the “most cliché science experiment” you can do (at least that’s what the internet says)

While eruptive demonstrations will always be cool, I think the gravity-driven structural evolution of large volcanoes is equally interesting and consequential and subject to illustration with models.


Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 12

Below -30C for the first time at MOSAiC. The helicopter dropped us off. Dave, Hans, and I at the L1 site, some 15 km away from Polarstern. A flurry of activity as we unload our gear from the helicopter and pull it out of the downwash…. Then up and away, … and …. Silence. Darkness. This is really it: the Arctic winter.


November 18, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 11

Working in the Arctic can, of course, be a huge challenge. The fingers, toes and nose bearing the brunt of it. Delicate instrument work is particularly hard as this often requires taking off warm outer gloves to expose hands with thin or no gloves. But in the end, it is rarely the actual temperature that matters. Instead the wind is the key factor.


November 17, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 10

Time is such an odd concept out here. The sun is long gone; now we have at most only a sliver of lighter skies on the far horizon framing extensive darkness in all directions. No real reference for daily time….. the food schedule onboard providing the only framework.


November 16, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 9

The ice has been trucking along quickly to the north, and with the recent drift we have finally moved north of our original installation position and are now on our way towards the North Pole.


November 15, 2019

Dirty glaciers all over the world

Dirty glaciers are the most understudied kind, Truffer said. Scientists have not accounted for their quirky properties in models. Those numbers are important because so many people depend on glacial melt as their water supply, including millions in India, China and Bangladesh.