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Face of northern Alaska pitted by tundra fire

...northern boreal forest after a fire vaporizes moss and other ground cover. In a new study, Ben Jones of the USGS Alaska Science Center looked at what happens when a big fire happens north of the tree line. He and his coauthors, including pilot...
Alaska Science Forum: Flesh-eating bugs gorge in the name of science

Aren Gunderson parks his truck, steps out and strips off his sweatshirt. "I always take off my outer clothing layer," says the caretaker of the University of Alaska Museum's colony of flesh-eating beetles. "The stink will stay with you.
Alaska Science Forum: Human-powered torpedo on Alaska's remote island

On a damp island far out in the Aleutian chain, a secret weapon of Japan's World War II Navy sinks into the sod. A Type-A midget submarine the shape of a killer whale was one of six the Japanese carried to Kiska Island in 1942.
Alaska Science Forum: Why we spilled crude just to watch it burn

On a clear day last spring, fire sizzled on water at Poker Flat Research Range in the Chatanika River valley. There, scientists were spilling crude oil in a manmade water basin and torching it from above.
Alaska Science Forum: Unusual songbird meets an early snowstorm

As piles of wet snow fell, an unexpected guest rapped at the window. My wife, Kristen, heard it bump into the glass. She was soon cupping in her hands a delicate bird she saw perched on the windowsill. "It's a golden-crowned kinglet!" she said.
Alaska Science Forum: Spillways of an ancient Alaska lake

Many years ago, geologists stood on the bank of the Copper River and watched Childs Glacier thunder icebergs straight into the river. Using a little imagination, one researcher remarked how an advance of the glacier could seal off the big river.
Alaska Science Forum: Alders go their own way in autumn

With every autumn breath we take, Alaska brightens with yellows, reds and oranges of plants recovering what they can from tired solar panels. But one shrubby tree does not join the party. Alders remain a stubborn green.
Alaska Science Forum: Ancient pike found in Interior lake mud

While slicing a cylinder of mud he pulled from an Interior Alaska lake, Matthew Wooller ran into a snag. The wire he was using to cut the mud stopped when it hit something solid. He grabbed a knife, carved around the obstruction, and made a discovery.
Alaska Science Forum: Water fountains on the tundra

While tightroping on tussock heads in a bog off the Chandalar River, two companions and I heard a waterfall. Strange. Looking through binoculars, we saw a knee-high fountain of clear water in the tundra. The flow was as thick as your leg.
Alaska Science Forum: A float down the Tanana River

This is not Henry Allen's Tanana River. Nor is it the Trail River of people living here thousands of years before the nineteenth-century government explorer struggled his way down the Tanana. But it seems close.


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