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June 6, 2019

Mucknificence

Seafloor mud is a mucknificent thing. The soft surface of well-sorted, very fine silt and mud provides a wonderful foundation for benthic organisms, but also allows all the larger, coarser, and heavier rocks – including the meteorites we seek – to bury themselves within.

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June 5, 2019

The Hunt for the Quinault meteorite begins

The sea is pitching 8 foot swells at the R/V Falkor as the “Seeking Space Rocks” team transits to the first dive site in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. We have three days to look for meteorites on the seafloor, the second time this has ever been attempted.

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June 4, 2019

Sea trials and error

My love for the ocean began on the protected shore of Terrace Beach on Vancouver Island, surrounded by shorelines armored with rocky outcroppings that create structures for tide pools hundreds of organisms call home.

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June 3, 2019

Curiosity: The cat’s best friend

By Abrian Curington As the artist on board for these sea trials, it is my job to create an illustrated map to commemorate the trip, as well as some illustrated travel journaling. Though it would be great to get right to drawing, before I can lay pen to paper, I get to do copious research. Essentially, this means I move around making notes and doodles of seemingly irrelevant objects and …

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May 30, 2019

How many Alaska glaciers? There’s no easy answer

Not long ago, a glaciologist wrote that the number of glaciers in Alaska “is estimated at (greater than) 100,000.” That fuzzy number, maybe written in passive voice for a reason, might be correct. But it depends upon how you count.

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May 24, 2019

Ruddy ducks among many moving northward

Every spring, millions of ducks touch down on Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge, a spread of muskeg and dark water the size of Maryland. These days, more ruddy ducks seem to be among them. Recent sightings of this handsome, rust-colored bird — the males with a teal-blue beak — suggest ruddy ducks are moving farther northward.

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May 23, 2019

Oceanography in real-time: Undergraduates learn what it takes to do science at sea

Mud wasn’t the only thing students got their hands on. The undergraduates helped to sample the water column and ocean life at two deep locations (3,000 m and 600 m water depth) off the Oregon continental shelf, in addition to conducting a hydrographic survey along the Newport Hydrographic Line, a series of sampling stations that have been active for nearly 60 years.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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