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Arctic Science Blog

Darrow with inclinometer, bear-chewed casing and instruments / Image Laura Nielsen

Many angles to decode frozen debris lobes

“Something chewed on the casing,” Margaret Darrow explained. “Probably a bear.” Blue chips were scattered from the cracked pvc pipe. Inside the casings that protect the holes drilled in and around frozen debris lobe -A there’s non-toxic propylene glycol. Propylene glycol, a clear greenish liquid, prevents freezing – helpful for scientific instruments – but it […] Read More >

FDL_Walltop

Effective stress and FDL science

“It’s a very dynamic slope,” Margaret Darrow said, standing in front of frozen debris lobe -A. FDL-A is a slow landslide; among the frozen debris lobes documented it’s the closest to the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Although the lobes likely began their life as debris left over when Pleistocene glaciers disappeared 10 to […] Read More >

Vivian the differential GPS  / Image Laura Nielsen

Temperamental machinery and FDL science

When the machinery mounted to the man-height pole announced “RTK initialized,” the scientists gave a cheer. It was late afternoon and the morning’s downpour had finally cleared. They were gathered in a sunny spot discussing what was still on the agenda for the day when the rover – the pole and its paramount differential GPS […] Read More >

Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) ; this male shows the iridiscent, colored dorsal fin of the species. / Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Droughts and fish highways

“I grew up on the shores of Connecticut looking into tidal pools and wondering about the plants and animals living there: where they move to when the tide goes out, and from when the tide comes in, and why. Once I even tracked my cat out my 3rd floor window and onto the roof to […] Read More >

Highly magnified view of an otolith, an Arctic grayling inner ear bone / Image Heidi Golden

The chemical map of otoliths

It’s about the size of a diamond and comes from the inner ear of a fish. This tiny construction holds a treasure trove of information, a calcium carbonate microchip made of bone and accessed by a laser. Let’s take a look at the science of otoliths. An otolith is a fish ear bone (from oto- […] Read More >