EAGLE – As the late evening sunshine poured in from the northwest, a dozen residents of Alaska’s farthest upstream town on the Yukon River watched their winter race past in floating chunks of ice.
A dog that pulled his way into history has given scientists insight into what makes Alaska sled dogs and other working breeds unique.
Melt season is a sad time for people who enjoy the magic of snow crystals bonding so well to one another, resulting in a web of trails over the face of Alaska.
When Syun-Ichi Akasofu walks by in the building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus that bears his name, I want to catch up and give him a hug.
Scientists in northern Alaska are learning about polar bears by scraping snow samples from the tracks they leave behind.
Two staff members of the University of Alaska Fairbanks recently rode 1,000 miles across Alaska on bikes with tires fat as a loaf of bread.
Last week, while getting ready to climb into a bunk, I heard the yell of a raven outside. And then another, and a few more. I pulled on my boots.
While running through Bicentennial Park in Anchorage, biologist Jessy Coltrane spotted a porcupine in a birch tree. On her runs on days following, she saw it again and again, in good weather and bad. Over time, she knew which Alaska creature she wanted to study.
CREAMER’S FIELD – Five scientists have padded their way on snowshoes into the middle of this frozen swamp in Fairbanks. They are here to measure the pillowy, perfect snowpack that has fallen here since last October.
In spring of 1946, five men stationed at the Scotch Cap lighthouse had reasons to be happy. World War II was over. They had survived. Their lonely Coast Guard assignment on Unimak Is-land would be over in a few months.
Lonely northern cliffs from which scientists have pulled the bones of Alaska dinosaurs also hold the fossilized remains of birds.
Be careful what you say, ravens. Doug Wacker is listening to you.
Rod Boyce of Two Rivers, Alaska, reports that he has noticed – at a time when the outside air’s temperature has not been above freezing since October – three butterflies living in his heated garage.
North of the village of Hughes, in frigid, sluggish water, dim blue light penetrates two feet of lake ice. The ice has a quarter-size hole, maintained by a stream of methane bubbles. Every few minutes, a brutish little fish swims up, turns to sip air, and peels back to the dank.
Dan Joling of Anchorage was set to photograph the full moon rising over the Port of Anchorage on Jan. 6, 2023. His research told him the moon would pop over the horizon at a certain number of degrees from north. Guided by the compass feature on his iPhone, Joling aimed his camera that way.
Glaciers worldwide are withering. Half of them will disappear by the end of this century, and much of the lost ice will vanish from mountains in Alaska, scientists say.
The palm-sized amphibians were hibernating in a box outside Brian Barnes’ Fair-banks home a few decades ago. Barnes, director of the Institute of Arctic Biology, and his students were in his living room checking a temperature gauge he recently plucked from the “frog corral.”
One year before Alaska became part of America, 21-year old William Dall ascended the Yukon River on a sled, pulled by dogs. The man who left his name all over the state was in 1866 one of the first scientists to document the mysterious peninsula jutting toward Russia. He is probably the most…
During the darkest days of Alaska’s winter, black-capped chickadees stuff themselves with enough seeds and frozen insects to survive 18-hour nights.
The Arctic Report Card, a compilation of northern science by researchers from all over the planet — most of them doing work in Alaska — came out in mid-December at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Chicago.
One winter day not long ago, a reporter from the Sacramento Bee called. She had read a story I wrote about life at 40 below in Fairbanks.
Alan Alda, the actor and host of PBS television’s Scientific American Frontiers, recently traveled to Alaska on a mission to interview scientists about the changing North.
When you are a young boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s, sniffing warm pastries your father has placed in the window of his bakery, it is impossible to say what your legacy will be. There is a good chance you will become a baker.
A few days ago, along with 50,000 others, I covered 26.2 miles of this city on the worn soles of my running shoes.
A bird the size of your fist has made humans all over the world marvel at the things we can’t do.
Standing in the 29-degree air outside a building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, Josephine Galipon held a pinkie-size vial that may have held tiny organisms locked in a coma for thousands of years.
One of the downsides of the oil-based materials that keep us warm is that they spew a lot of carbon into the atmosphere when they are made. And those blue and pink sheets of foam insulation never die, often polluting the land and floating on our waterways when we are done with them.
Vic Van Ballenberghe died on Sept. 22, 2022, at the age of 78. The man who knew moose better than perhaps anyone else on Earth had stood amid their knobby legs for many springs and falls in Interior Alaska. I got to join him in the field once, 11 years ago. Here is my story from that day:
Kelsey Aho works as a mapmaker for the U.S. Forest Service in Alaska. She is also an artist who collects earthen materials on her travels around the state.
Sitting at a window seat on a recent flight from Seattle to Fairbanks, I looked down on Alaska from 35,000 feet.
In this wild place where dump truck drivers once tipped load after load of gravel onto the moss to make roads and building pads, scientists rolled open an iron gate one recent Saturday afternoon.
A University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist wants to find out when the last woolly mammoth fell to the grass in Alaska. He is asking for help from an unusual source: people like you.
“Lakes seem, on the scale of years or of human life spans, permanent features of landscapes, but they are geologically transitory, usually born of catastrophes, to mature and die quietly.” — George Evelyn Hutchinson, “A Treatise on Limnology,” 1957.
A few minutes’ walk from the bank of the aquamarine upper Yukon River in northwestern Canada, thousands of bones of ancient creatures rest in boxes and on shelves.
When my little Ford pickup chugged into Alaska 36 years ago this month, I didn’t know a wheel dog from a dog salmon. You could have told me the North Slope was connected to the Panhandle by the Chain and I would have believed you.
In late summer, a few months before this mossy valley will feel the sting of 40-below air, bright red salmon dart through a crystal-clear pool amid fragrant green vegetation. The Gulkana Hatchery has a Garden-of-Eden feel, which is fitting since millions of sockeye salmon begin life here each year.
To put the largest eruption in Alaska’s written history in context, Robert Griggs pondered what might have happened if the volcano that erupted in summer of 1912 was located on Manhattan Island rather than the Alaska Peninsula.
Dan Mann hands me a clump of orange dirt the size of an almond. He instructs me to put it in my mouth.
During a good year in Bristol Bay, a surge of more than 100 million pounds of sockeye salmon fights its way upstream, spawns, and dies. In Bristol Bay and elsewhere in Alaska, this incredible pulse of salmon carcasses enriches streams and rivers and makes young salmon hardier.
“These are museum-class bonsais,” Ben Gaglioti says as we walk through an elfin forest.
To the woman wearing earbuds and sitting next to me in seat 7E:
Snow geese flew in a ragged V overhead, rasping as they looked down upon Alaska’s bumpy face for the first time in 2022.
Andy Bassich lives on the south bank of the Yukon River, about 12 miles downstream from Eagle, Alaska, the first community in America along the largest waterway in Alaska.
As much of Alaska’s landmass crosses the magical temperature threshold that turns ice and snow into water, it’s time to consider the state’s richness in a resource more essential to humans than oil or gas.
This June, George Divoky will refurbish a cabin that sits on a lonely gravel island north of Alaska.
In mid-April, despite a day length that is four hours longer than Miami’s, middle Alaska is still a part of the cryosphere.
The lynx looks out from inside a chicken-wire cage. Despite its loss of freedom and the nearby squeaking of boots on cold snow, the wild cat looks calm, as if it might be resting while digesting a snowshoe hare.
Though the calendar calls it springtime, the thermometer on the truck reads minus 28 F on this sunny morning a few days past spring equinox.
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