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Blue Skies, Nesting Ravens, and Warm Work Hands

4/22/2016

Yesterday morning we woke to near silence except for the welcome squawk of a raven pair circling around Inigok camp. We started doing work on some snowpacked river channels near camp and worked downstream to the mainstem of Fish Creek where the river becomes wide and mixed with dynamic sandbars. Ground penetrating radar surveys revealed complex bedforms and permafrost table.

Andy P using GPR to image subsurface of river channel

Allen hit an overpressured pocket of pool water under 1.6 m of snow and another 1.6 m of ice.

Allen B deep about to puncture the pressurized pocket of river water

We also did geophysics on two shallow lakes one frozen to the bed at 1.2 m and another nearly frozen with about 2 inches of liquid water at the bed. It was incredibly sunny yesterday and started to soften the very bumpy tundra snow drifts, improving riding conditions as the day progressed. Working when its like this is nice, but very easy to overheat while riding or digging snow pits. Plus the handwarmer on my snowmachine was stuck on (due to severed wires on handlebar column) and had to stop often to cool of my mits. We did come up with a fix late in the day while stopped at our last site, Lonely Wolf Pond, to collect a lake core to establish its basal age with C14 dating.

Ben J checking out sediment collected with Russia Peat Corer

Back to camp by 9:30 PM to make delicious dinner of turkey burgers with NM roasted chili peppers. Today we’ll wrap up work around Inigok area and get prepped for an early morning departure for lower Fish Creek area about 30 mi to East. Will be long day down there, but opportunities for important discovery will be an important motivating factor. Trends look like we’ll have an early spring on the Arctic Coastal Plain, like much of Alaska, and that should set the stage for an interesting summer.

A sunny afternoon along Upper Fish Creek near Inigok

Happy Earth Day Earth from our perspective near your top where you’re still white and wild!