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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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September 17, 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 58

Sometimes goodbyes are hard. Like this morning. Two ships together, then the lines are reeled in. Subtle movements and a slow parting. The railings of both vessels crowded with people, initially just a few feet apart. Waving. Photos. Crying.

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September 16, 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 57

As with last time, it again felt like an invasion. Today, after the ships were stable alongside each other, we started having some exchange of people. An invasion of new, strange faces…. of different energy. This leg of MOSAiC is really coming to an end now.

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September 15, 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 56

Already starting to miss this place and we are not gone yet! And standing here on the working deck, feeling a bit sentimental, looking out from the side of the ship: A mixture of open water and small chunks of ice floating around as we all sit here embedded in the diminishing ice pack. It is misty and foggy.

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September 14, 2020

The interesting geologic setting of Thomas Cole’s “The Oxbow”

New from The Geo Models blog: “Earlier this year, I became aware of the longer, geographically-specific title and learned that the painting does portray a real location with a particularly interesting geologic context…. Cole’s vantage point on Mt. Holyoke is east-northeast.

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September 9, 2020

Orange trees in the Alaska Range

While wandering middle Alaska this summer, I noticed orange spruce trees along the entire length of the Denali Highway, from Paxson to Cantwell. In what looked like a dendrological case of frostbite, tips of every branch were afflicted with something. The real show happened when the wind blew: An entire valley glowed apricot. After the wind died, a Tang-like orange powder floated on rivers and puddles. It was as if someone had pepper-sprayed the Denali Highway.

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August 28, 2020

The Geo Models: Landslides associated with historic iron mining in the Virginia Valley and Ridge

The sharpness of these landslide features suggests they may still be slowly moving, but very little disruption to vegetation is visible in satellite imagery, so movement is probably very slow. Since their maximum age is known (the time of mining; late 1800s-1920s), they offer interesting comparison to older, natural landslides in the area, which tend to have softened, rounded features due to weathering and erosion.

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August 27, 2020

A bad night in a good box

Early in his career, on a wet, windy, foggy night, Guy Tytgat checked into the loneliest hotel in the Aleutians. His room was four feet wide and five feet tall, made of fiberglass, and perched on the lip of a volcanic crater.

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August 21, 2020

Remembering glaciologist Konrad Steffen

“I remember Steffen as a striking figure — sandy gray hair, piercing blue eyes, his face weathered by snow, wind and sun — at the podium during press conferences at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. There, Steffen spoke to reporters about Greenland’s impressive ice melt.”

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