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.
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.
One of the quietest places in Alaska was temporarily home to a few hardy people at the time the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. An archaeologist has fleshed out what life might have been like during a winter on St. Matthew Island in the 1600s.
A few years ago, Link Olson wanted students in his mammalogy class to see one of the neatest little creatures in Alaska: the northern flying squirrel. He baited a few live traps with peanut butter rolled in oats and placed them in spruce trees.
In late July, more than 300 wildfires are burning in Alaska. With burned acreage totals one month ahead of the historic 2004 fire season, summer 2015 is again the year of the wildfire. Many scientists are not surprised.
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.
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.
MIDDLE FORK, CHANDALAR RIVER - Two hundred miles straight north of my home in Fairbanks, I'm at the northern edge of a forest that carpets the continent all the way to Labrador.
And they are here. Sluggish mosquitoes, sprung from the leaves where they overwintered. Moths and butterflies flitting the fields and south-facing slopes. Beetles skittering along in pinstripe-grooved exoskeletons.
At the edge of a spruce forest in Interior Alaska, archaeologists have unearthed bone pendants that might be the first examples of artwork in northern North America.
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