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April 9, 2020
Howard Pass, a rock-stubbled tundra plateau in the western Brooks Range, is one of the lowest points in the mountains that arc across northern Alaska. It is a broad gateway between the great drainages of the Colville and Noatak rivers. Scientists who have visited the lonely spot say Howard Pass is noteworthy for two reasons — it features some of Alaska’s most extreme weather and, curiously, the area has an abundance of archaeological sites.
April 3, 2020
In her studies, Misarti and her colleagues found that walrus in the distant past ate a larger variety of food than they do today. Walrus eat clams almost exclusively these days, but in the past their diets may have included more fish, seabirds and even seals.
March 23, 2020
One-hundred-two years ago, a strain of influenza virus spread across the globe, eventually reaching Brevig Mission in Alaska. Five days after the flu hit the Seward Peninsula, 72 of the 80 villagers in Brevig Mission were dead. Through a series of events suited to a detective novel, researchers made a connection between Brevig Mission and the flu virus that helped prevent another outbreak of the 1918 flu, one of the worst epidemics ever experienced.
March 18, 2020
On the cusp of Interior Alaska’s springtime, Melinda Webster will not experience it this year. She’ll miss most of summer, too. Webster will soon head north of Earth’s land masses, to spend the next half year cradled in ice.
March 12, 2020
While skiing with two friends on the frozen Yukon River a few weeks ago, I visited the eight people who live between the towns of Eagle and Circle, which are 160 river miles apart. The adults in those three households all shared the same observation: The Yukon River’s average level has dropped recently. They all mentioned “river piracy” that happened in an unseen high valley, 500 miles away, as a probable cause.
March 9, 2020
In the 160 miles between the towns of Eagle and Circle, a half-dozen gold-mining settlements — most of them ghosted out — were on the south bank of the Yukon River. Not one was on the north side. That seemed like more than a coincidence.
February 25, 2020
We just skied 100 miles of the frozen Yukon River, two friends and I, until it got too cold for our skis to glide, and we flew back to Fairbanks on a plane that landed on both skis and wheels.
February 3, 2020
Carly Phillips and her colleagues have been running the numbers on the acreage and CO2 emissions of Alaska forests that might be spared with more aggressive firefighting. She figured if Alaska’s firefighting budget were quadrupled, there could be a 60 percent reduction in acreage burned each year. “That’s similar to nearly 7 million cars removed from the road,” she said.
January 30, 2020
In cold, dry, subarctic air, a rocket taller than a house tilts northward, awaiting the moment when a person inside a nearby concrete building pushes a button. The ink-black Chatanika River valley will then flash white, and erupt with a clap of thunder.
January 23, 2020
By the summer of 2020, a landslide will bury a portion of the road from the Denali National Park entrance to Wonder Lake. That’s the conclusion of Zena Robert, a UAF graduate student who visited the park in summer 2019. Last summer, she did a ground survey of giant blobs of frozen hillside that sometimes ooze over the 92-mile road, which workers built from 1923 to 1938.