23 Hours of Sunlight and 22 Hours of Bugs (Part 2)

July 5th, 2016

Guest bloggers: Andrew Wayrynen and Jeff Gunderson

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We take our berry picking very seriously

Oh so you thought you got rid of Team Alaska, didn’t you? Yeah well, just as there are as many cedar sites in Juneau as there are cruise ship tourists, we’re back with part 2. Now where were we?

After our Kayak at McBride Glacier amongst the massive icebergs in the fjord, we— Jesse Wiles, Dr. Wiles, Jeff Gunderson, Andrew Wayrynen, and Nick Weisenberg— decided to take to the ice by foot. As such, the following day we made the short kayak to the outwash plain at the terminus of Riggs Glacier, a massively cold testament to what the coastal Alaskan climate can do. While on the glacier, it was impossible not to feel humbled and awe-struck by its enormity. It was a friendly and welcome reminder as to why the science truly matters.

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A Jeff for scale at Riggs Glacier

Exploring Riggs glacier was a wonderful experience, but the time soon came for another dendroclimatological expedition. Our goal was to search for wood in the recently vacated valley where once Riggs and McBride Glaciers connected. To our pleasure there was hardly any alders, which made the mission less trying, yet there was no shortage of braided streams that provided ample opportunities for a boot full of freezing glacier water. Unfortunately, there was only one log to be found and sampled in the entire valley. As sure as the bugs did bite, we brought it home.

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Dr. Wiles coring the lone log in the valley

The following day, an all-too-familiar gray haze took command of the skies that dripped upon us a rather watery substance called rain. As the bold, rugged mountain-worn scientists slated to bridge that 2000-year gap, we took the day off. We explored our camp cove and admired huge beached icebergs.

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Andrew investigates the dead ice 

 That day at our camp in Muir Inlet would prove to be our last, as Todd, the wise NPS boat captain, arrived in late morning of the following day with Dan Lawson to take us to Tlingit Point. However, we made a historically significant stop along the way. Before navigating Glacier Bay’s icy waters, Todd worked in Yosemite Valley in California, inadvertently following John Muir’s footsteps in his late 19th century search for glaciers. Much to Andrew’s excitement, he guided us to the site of John Muir’s cabin, which was built in 1879 by Muir and friends. Having been so busy as geologists, our crew relished in the opportunity to have a stab at archaeology.

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 John Muir’s cabin in the late 19th century where the terminus of Muir Glacier once was (left) and the same cabin today (right)

Now camped at Tlingit Point, we had our sights on the Mountain Hemlock situated atop the hills above us. The climb up was incredible in practically every sense of the word. While ascending, the chances of peering out to the bay and soaking in the gorgeous vistas were about the same as falling into patch of delicious wild strawberries. Near the top, the alders thinned and the brush only came up to ankle-height, but alas the bugs persisted, hungrier than ever. Once amid the old growth, we cored the mighty hemlocks and safely tucked away the obtained samples.

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Andrew tries his hand at coring for the first time

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Mountain goats became new friends to the Wooster Geology Department

 Things we learned: Giant Hogweed makes your skin more susceptible to UV rays and can cause third degree sunburns (no, those puss bubbles on your hand aren’t spider bites, Jeff). It doesn’t really rain in Alaska- spare your wallet and don’t buy rain gear if you go. Apparently, Alaskan mosquitoes are wildly undernourished. Dendrochronology/Dendroclimatology is amazing. Our favorite rock is becoming a tree.

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The view from the top of Tlingit Point marked the end of an awesome field season

23 Hours of Sunlight and 22 Hours of Bugs (Part 1)

June 26th, 2016

Guest bloggers: Andrew Wayrynen and Jeff Gunderson

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First attempt at collecting wood in Muir Inlet with Dan Lawson 

Two College of Wooster geologists in the Alaskan wilderness is always a recipe for success. Thanks to Dr. Wiles and the geo gang, we took our interests in glaciology and dendroclimatology to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Southern Alaska, where scrambling up glaciers, maneuvering slippery alders, and finally sampling old growth trees became daily routine. As the first time in Alaska for Andrew and the second for Jeff, the beauty of the historic place was stunning and allowed scientific inquiry to flourish in its wake. Jeff’s tall task stood as “bridging the gap” of Glacier Bay’s glacial and climate history and Andrew, an English major by night, explored the location’s history in accordance with the writing of esteemed preservationist John Muir.

We were met by none other than Nick Wiesenberg at the Juneau airport, where we promptly sorted out food supplies and last minute gear checklists. After a few quick stops around town and a quiet night in the state’s capitol we were set to take off for Glacier Bay and to enter the field. We spent the night in a park-designated campsite and the next day we, as a trio, embarked a national park service boat to scoop up Dr. Wiles and his bright-eyed photographer Jesse who were already at Marble Mountain. Thereafter, we voyaged up-Bay to Muir Inlet where we set up camp between the Eastern-Arm’s McBride and Riggs Glaciers.

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Carrying supplies in the sand dunes to cross the river and find the log

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The older generation showing us how it’s done

The following day, the five of us kayaked to Wolf Lake in hopes of finding logs that would bridge the 2000-year old gap in the Glacier Bay tree-ring chronology. This totaled to a 14-mile round trip venture, where 6 miles were by foot and 8 were by kayak. The trek followed a decent sized creek, through marshy, bug-infested alders up a ridge to a drainage divide. From the top, a beautiful lake was visible whose crystal waters contained the remnants of an icy past. Down the other side of the divide was our goal- the roaring braided streams and the encasing alluvial fans. The mosquitoes brandished whatever the hell it is that they so eagerly stab us with and we set forth, mesh bug nets swaying in the wind, serving as a sort of lifeline. At last in the outwash plain, we spread out and surveyed the area for the missing pieces to our chronological puzzle. Our efforts proved fruitful, for there was more wood than we could conceivably carry.

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A teachable moment for us in the field

5.5We’re considering making a show called Alaskan Bushwhackers

This first day of fieldwork truly set the tone for the remainder of the project. Sunny skies would subsequently outweigh threatening thunderous clouds, and complacency would never overcome hard work. The following afternoon the crew seized the opportunity to explore McBride Glacier by sea kayak, both resting tired legs and experiencing the immensity of one of the only remaining tidewater glaciers left in the Bay. We found it incredibly rewarding and inspiring to be so close to the very living beings that we have, and indeed will continue to, spend so much time studying. That afternoon, ice appeared the most brilliant shade of blue. Later that night, rice and beans never tasted so good.

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Glaciers make us smile… stay posted for part 2

 

Team Columbia returns in high spirits with bountiful samples!

July 22nd, 2015

I.S. students, Kaitlin and Maddie enjoying the sunshine and representing Wooster below a fascinating ice tunnel.

I.S. students, Kaitlin and Maddie enjoying the sunshine and representing Wooster below a fascinating ice tunnel.

Guest Bloggers: Maddie Happ and Kaitlin Starr (Girdwood, Alaska)

Team Columbia is back from an exciting 8 days in the field.  Dr.Wiles, Nick Wiesenberg, Maddie Happ and Kaitlin Starr traveled via helicopter to Columbia Bay, Alaska beginning July 15th and returning July 21st. The first half of the trip was spent on the West Branch of Columbia Bay. Despite rainy days and blustery winds, we accomplished quite a bit of work! During our time on the West Branch, the team updated an old growth site, known as the Rock Tor, and collected samples from another living tree site near Kadin Lake. In addition to these living tree samples, the team collected cores and cross sections from newly exposed wood that were killed during the initial advance of Columbia Glacier.

    Kaitlin recording sample numbers and GPS locations at our first site.

Kaitlin recording sample numbers and GPS locations at our first site.

On July 18th, we were transferred across the bay to a location known as the Land Lobe. The team created base camp on the Great Nunatak side of the Land Lobe, as opposed to past years when groups were limited to the moraine due to the previous glacier terminus. Finally, the weather gods were on our side, and abundant sunshine allowed for productive days. We collected samples from the fans surrounding our base camp. On our last night in Columbia, we climbed to the tree line to update another living tree site titled the Son of the Great Nunatak. The alpine forest made for a wonderful last dinner in the Alaskan wilderness. On our final morning (with great weather still hanging on), Dr.Wiles and Nick recieved helicopter support to jump across the river to the other side of the Land lobe, where they collected newly exposed samples to complete a previously sampled site.

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Team Columbia enjoying sunshine and exploring sites at our second camp near the Great Nunatak.

Team Columbia encountered a few minor setbacks throughout the trip, including gritty oatmeal, killer porcupines, and constant stumbling (particularly near waterfalls); however, it was a fabulous adventure overall! I.S. students, Maddie and Kaitlin are excited to return to the Wooster Tree Ring Lab and begin exploring the great stories behind these logs.

    Photo of the East Branch of Columbia Glacier captured from the helicopter.

Photo of the East Branch of Columbia Glacier captured from the helicopter.

BUGGY, WET, and AWESOME

September 4th, 2014

Guest bloggers: Zach Downes & Wilson Nelson

For me, the trip started in Juneau, Alaska.  We arrived in Juneau late with a couple of things to take care of the next day before getting in a small plane and heading to Gustavus, Alaska where Glacier Bay National Park is based.  We needed food, XtraTuf boots, definitely XtraTuf boots, to meet with some folks at the University of Alaska Southeast, and to hike into the Juneau Icefield just north of town.

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       The Juneau Icefield.  If you look closely you can see a person in the bottom left corner for scale

 

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 An ice cave near the front of the Icefield.

We woke up early the next morning to catch our small plane and thirty minute flight over to Gustavus.  We were met by our pilot Kyle who was 27 and from Ohio.  He said he’d been living in Gustavus for 7 weeks after quitting his big boy job and moving there to fly planes like he’d always wanted to.  It’s always great meeting people that aren’t scared of doing something different and going after what they want.

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   Loading up our plane before taking off to Gustavus, Alaska

The plane ride itself was one of many memorable moments from the trip.  Neither of us had been on such a small plane before and the landscapes we flew over couldn’t have been much prettier.  We landed in Gustavus with another long laundry list of things to do before heading out into the field.  This list included organizing all of our gear, throwing our food in bear barrels, and going through the various orientations required for going out into the park.  The orientations were mostly painful to sit through as we were excited to get into the field.  All except for the bear orientation as Chris led us into the psyche of the bear through his animated, descriptive, and eye-opening teaching performance.  Once the orientations were through, we went back to the park housing for the night to get ready to head up into the east arm of the bay early in the morning.

The ride into the bay was awesome.  We met up with Captain Todd at the research boat, loaded it with our gear and kayaks, and started the two and a half hour boat ride out to Wolf Point.  A boat ride like that will go fast when you have snow-topped mountains, sea otters, and seals to look at.  With Led Zeppelin playing, Captain Todd took us all the way up the East Arm to get a look at John Muir Glacier.  What a cool guy he must have been.

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                      The research boat that took us out to our field site.

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              Puffins we saw on the boat ride.

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             Sea lions seen on the boat ride as well.

After getting dropped off at Wolf Point we found a place with a great view, lots of bear scat, and bear belly holes that seemed like a good spot to set up camp.  That didn’t take too long and before we knew it, Dr. Wiles was ready to go thrash up a side of Wolf Point Creek to see how easily we could make it back to a lake that would house some good wood for sampling.  It turned out not easily at all and after about an hour of crushing some pretty heinously thick brush in the rain, we decided to head back and try the other side of the creek the next day.

This crushing through thick brush became somewhat of a theme throughout the trip.  There were some sampling bright spots where we found good logs without having to do much more then kayak a short ways.  We came across about ten logs to sample at our Stump Bluffs site, and a few more down the East Arm and into Wachusett Inlet at the Wachusett River site.

We spent our nights in the field at the Wolf Point campsite and Wachusett River site. Mornings and nights were fun and there was a lot of good food and chatter with fairly tiring sample searching in between.  We drank gallons of Tang and ate way too many cookies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, or maybe that was just me.  The days seemed to go by real slow, but our sixth day pickup came really fast. The time in the field was amazing. We were constantly looking at incredible landscapes, gorgeous water, and relentless bugs, with a few semi-curious bears to distract us every now and again.

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Glacier Bay National Park is wild in more ways then one.  It is full of life and animals and sounds that were different and completely new to me.  I have never been in a place that felt so remote and untouched.  I kept searching the ground for some piece of garbage or sign that someone had been there before.  Of course people have, but–and I hope it stays this way forever–it certainly didn’t seem like it.

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Stuck in Girdwood

August 9th, 2014

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Kaitlin, Nick and Dr. Wiles.

GIRDWOOD, ALASKA – The College of Wooster Tree Ring team set off for Columbia Bay Glacier this past wednesday. After arriving in Anchorage with no troubles we drove down to Girdwood to hopefully catch a helicopter with a company called Alpine Air. Unfortunately for us the Alaskan weather had some other plans in mind. Due to a storm in the Prince Williams Sound area the rain and high winds made it impossible to fly to the glacier and forced us to be grounded in Girdwood. Thanks to the hospitallity of USGS glaciologist Shad O’Neel the College of Wooster Tree Ring team was able to stay in a condo owned by his family at the base of the local ski resort in town. The group is currently on standby waiting for any break in the weather to fly to Columbia Glacier.

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Devils Club along the trail in Girdwood.

The storm may have prevented us from traveling to Columbia via helicopter but it did not slow us down from collecting samples. Yesterday the group hiked up in the surrounding trails around Girdwood testing out our rain gear, exploring the beautiful Alaskan area and most importantly collecting some living tree ring samples. The group plans to travel to the intertidal later today to collect some samples from  the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake.

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Kaitlin extracting a core sample from a Mountain Hemlock in Girdwood.

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Girdwood, Alaska.

The Wooster Geologists of Team Alaska present at the 2013 Geological Society of America Meeting

October 29th, 2013

AndyAbby102913DENVER, COLORADO–We last saw the dynamic tree-coring duo of Abby VanLeuven (’14) and Andy Nash (’14) in wet, muddy, glorious Alaska pursuing their Independent Study research with Dr. Greg Wiles. They cleaned up nicely and today presented two posters at the 2013 annual meeting of the GSA in Denver. Abby is the senior author on the poster above, entitled: “Case studies of divergence along the North Pacific Rim“. On the poster below Andy is the senior author, and it is titled: “Tree-ring dating the neoglacial ice advance of Wachusett Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska, USA“.

AbbyAndy102913Well done, Team Alaska!

We must have walked 10 million miles.

July 16th, 2013

Guest Blogger: Abby VanLeuven

June 26th: Marble Mountain

Our arrival at the southern end of Marble Mountain begun with the sighting of 3 orcas that as Dr. Wiles explained were a sign of good luck. Thus began the assent into the bug-infested shrubbery complete with thickets of devils club and raspberry bushes. We were trying to climb to 2000 ft. elevation set up camp and then climb 400 more ft., in order to reach the Mountain Hemlocks that we were going to core. We were trying to core these particular hemlocks -because they are part of a Nunatak forest. A nunatak forest is an island of forest that survived the ice sheet moving over the area because of its high elevation. These trees would have been great for my thesis because of their age and high elevation.

About an hour into our hike the sun was bearing down on us, it was 85 degrees out and we were out of water with no streams or snow melt in sight. As the elevation and incline rose so did our levels of dehydration, frustration and exhaustion and around hour 5 we made the executive decision to turn around. Although it was pretty disappointing not to be able to reach the trees we ultimately made the right decision because of the lack of snow melt. Two hours later after sliding, stumbling, and falling down the mountain all while dreaming about water we heard the sound of the river and stumbled into it chugging as much as we could.

It was quite the adventure and although we looked it in the eye, Marble Mountain still holds its mysteries.

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Marble Mountain is the peak on the far left.

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Andy and Dr. Wiles trying to climb up the limestone rock face with 30 pound backpacks (our only break from dense Devils club and other shrubbery).

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Distressed after descending Marble Mountain (10PM).

June 28th-30th: days after Marble Mountain

We were rescued from Marble a day early and decided to take some cores from excursion ridge. We cored Western Hemlock, Mountain Hemlock and lots of Shore Pine. Although Shore Pines can sometimes be hard to correlate well, they have recently been in decline for a variety of biotic reasons and we are going to see if there is any climate signal that can be related to their stress.

The first day back (28th) we went up to Yellowleg trail, a lower site on excursion ridge, and started coring Western Hemlock and some Shore Pine. The lower elevation part of the trail started out dominantly a Western Hemlock forest opening up to more Mountain Hemlock and then ending with a bog full of Shore Pine. At the end of the day we were hiking along the road and saw a quartz vein that had been folded ductilely, which was really cool to see after learning about in structure.

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View at the base of the Yellowlegs trail overlooking Bartlett cove bay and Pleasant Island.

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Western Hemlock

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Quartz Vein.

Our next two days we started coring more Shore Pines in the valley below Excursion Ridge and finished coring the Yellowlegs Trail. While coring the trees in the valley we encountered our first rainy day but we survived. These Shore Pines are younger than the ones we sampled the day before but hopefully they will still yield valuable data.

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Bog at the top of the Yellowlegs trail.

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Coring a Shore Pine at the Yellowlegs trail bog.

To end our time in Gustavus we were invited by the foresters to aid them in their rivalry softball game against the lodge. We were acting as cheerleaders to the game, until the 5th inning where, in only 2 innings Andy got a run, Jesse made a diving catch at shortstop, and then Andy, as catcher, proceeded to drop the throw to home plate that would have prevented the lodge from winning. We met some great people and were sad to leave but at the end of the game with Andy’s huge mistake it was probably for the best that we were leaving on the ferry the next day.

On Saturday we took the ferry back to Juneau and there our adventure ended with a flight back to the lower 48 the next morning. We looked it in the eye and what an adventure Alaska has been.

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Team Alaska on a sunny day riding the ferry from Gustavus to Juneau.

We looked it in the eye

July 15th, 2013

Guest Blogger: Andy Nash

Gustavus, AK. June 25, 2013 – As our research trip to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve winds down we have some time to reconnect with the world and share some stories from our trip. The first half of our trip in the park was spent in Wachusett Inlet sampling logs and stumps that were killed during the advance of glaciers. Our group of Dr. Wiles, Jesse Wiles, Abby Vanlueven, and myself set up camp on June 19th on the south side of the inlet as close to Carroll Glacier as we could get. Our camp was next to an alluvial fan, which had a stream fed by snow melt running through it. This camp made the perfect home for our 5 day stay. We were lucky to get great weather our entire stay in Wachusett Inlet. The temperature ranged from 70-80° F and it only rained once at night while we were in Wachusett.

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Our base map with daily tracks that show everywhere we hiked

Day 1

After camp was set up on day one the group kayaked and took a hike Northwest of the inlet and onto moraines formed recently by Carroll Glacier. This served as a way for us to get acclimated to the area and also to scout out potential sites for further investigation. On this hike we saw plenty of bear sign and moose activity but unfortunately we didn’t see either of the animals during our stay in Wachusett.

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Our group: Abby Vanlueven ’14, Andy Nash ’14, Jesse Wiles (left to right) standing on Carroll Glacier’s ice-cored moraines

Day 2

On day two we sampled logs on the outwash plain to the north of Wachusett Inlet. This outwash comes from Cushing and Burroughs Glacier which are located north of Wachusett and Carroll Glacier. I described the stratigraphy of this valley cut by outwash as well as collecting core samples from detridal logs. As we hiked around this outwash plane we came across some birds that were not pleased with how close we were to their nests. They were relentless in protecting their eggs, swooping in from all angles and diving right at our heads. They only stopped when we retreated back to our kayaks. We finished off our day by running up two valleys on either side of the inlet to see if the river had eroded away any sub-fossil wood.

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The valley north of Wachusett Inlet which was once the site of an ice dammed lake (1960s) and is now being cut down by glacial outwash streams

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Coring a log in the valley

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Our group’s typical reaction to bird attacks

Day 3

Day three of our Wachusett Inlet adventure might be the most painful day for me to recount. I don’t think I will ever forget June 21, 2013. We didn’t realize until after that our longest day also coincided with the summer solstice. One this day we hiked from Wachusett Inlet to Queen Inlet by crossing over the glacial moraines we hiked up on day one. What was different on this day was the discovery that some of these glacial features had remnant ice under their slopes. This made for some interesting scrambles up slippery sand covered ice slopes, lots of frustration, and assistance from the ice ax. We estimated that after 6 hours and about 9 miles of tough hiking, we finally reached Queen Inlet. The outwash plane was massive, about 1 mile wide and 2 miles long. For all of that work we were rewarded with cores from 4 samples. Luckily the great views and feeling of invincibility we got after completing that hike overcame the soreness and fatigue when we woke up the next day.

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One of the two naps we took in Queen Inlet

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Searching for logs to sample

Day 4

After our expedition the previous day we all agreed that day four would be a recovery day. We took a little paddle down the inlet to core logs brought down to alluvial fans by streams much like the one we camped at. Today ended up being our most productive day. In total we sampled over 25 trees and took more than 40 cores. We called it an early day and went back to camp to play some cards which proved difficult with the wind and the bugs.

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Abby and I extracting cores from a hemlock log

Day 5

Our final full day in Wachusett Inlet was dedicating to cover the last bit of ground that we hadn’t covered in the previous four days. We hiked back up to the moraines but turned north away from Queen Inlet (Thankfully). Our attempt was to go back to the outwash plain from day two and sample from the western side which was blocked off by a river. We soon learned that out effort were all for not as another outwash river came off of Carroll Glacier creating a wedge of inaccessible land between the two rivers. This was disappointing because I had hoped to describe the stratigraphy of this valley wall which was exposed a little bit better than the other side.

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Nobody was safe from the mud on our last day. Abby had a tough time not getting stuck

 

We decided that the only motto that was appropriate for our trip to Wachusett Inlet was, “We looked it in the eye.” We covered every area at the head of Wachusett Inlet where sub-fossil logs could have been found. Our adventure in Wachusett might have come to an end but we still have more to report on as we spend some time on Marble Mountain and in Gustavus with plans to core living trees now. Be sure to watch for the next post from Abby about our further travels in Alaska.

Contemporary melting of northwestern glaciers: A new paper by Wooster Geologists … and the ultimate finish of an Independent Study adventure

January 25th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWooster geology graduate Nathan Malcomb, now a scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service, has just published an important paper with his advisor Greg Wiles in the journal Quaternary Research (affectionately known as “QR”). This work comes directly from Nathan’s Independent Study research with Greg, a project that was supported by the Henry J. Copeland Fund for Independent Study at Wooster. (A view of their field area in Valdez, southern Alaska, is shown above.) This is one part of Greg’s very productive Alaskan research program with his students.

Nathan and Greg used tree-ring series from temperature- and moisture-sensitive trees to reconstruct annual mass balances for six glaciers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. They show strong evidence to support their hypothesis that the retreat of these glaciers we see today is a unique event in the last several centuries. This melting is “dominated by global climate forcing”. Recent climate change is again demonstrated by careful data collection and well designed tests.

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Sarah Appleton (’12) on one of the Alaskan coring expeditions.

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Lauren Vargo (’13) demonstrating excellent coring technique.

Reference:

Malcomb, N.L. and Wiles, G.C. 2013. Tree-ring-based reconstructions of North American glacier mass balance through the Little Ice Age — Contemporary warming transition. Quaternary Research (in press), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2012.11.005

Memoirs of a Glacier

June 19th, 2012

Blog Post By Jennifer Horton

Lauren Vargo and I conducted our Senior I.S. field work in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, a beautiful park in the small town of Gustavus, Alaska.  GBNPP is a gigantic park that covers a span of 3.3 million acres of diverse landscape, from mountains, temperate rainforest, deep fjords, wild coastlines, and temperate rainforest.  We spent the majority of our time in Adams Inlet, a “small” cove located in the East Arm of the park.   Lauren and I soon learned that things in Alaska are usually much larger and farther away than they first appear!

A Google Earth Image of Adams Inlet, the location of our study

The tidal system of the Pacific Ocean dominates Adams Inlets.  On a daily basis the difference between low and high tides was over fifteen feet.  With water constantly flowing in and out of the bay, it was impossible for motorized boats to enter the inlet, so instead we kayaked!……with all our gear.

Lauren and I with all the gear

Not only was kayaking a great arm work out, it was a unique way to experience the wildlife of Glacier Bay.  We saw many birds, seals, porpoises, and even a seal lion as we paddled through the inlet.  On our first day in the field, we set up a base camp close to Muir Inlet, the location of the famous author John Muir’s cabin.  After working in this area for a couple of days, we packed up a modified camp and paddled deeper into Adams, with the tide of course!

Lauren and I just offshore in our expedition sized kayake

A large part of our fieldwork was to collect cores from ancient trees.  We hope to uses these cores, as well as some samples we gathered for radio carbon dating, to gain a better understanding of the glacial history of Adams Inlet.  Our hope is that the dates these trees will provide will correlate with the sediment and stratigraphy found in the various exposures we worked in.

Lauren coring a log in the field

After our twelve days of working in the field Lauren and I got to take a day off.  We took a boat tour up the West Arm of GBNPP.  On the tour, we got to see even more wild life from brown bears to mountain goats.  But, most importantly we finally got to see the impressive and dynamic glaciers of GBNPP.

Lauren and I in front of the Margerie Glacier

Going to GBNPP was an experience I will never forget.  Not only did I learn how to properly defend my self from bears, pitch a tent, core trees, and kayake, I learned what it takes to perform real geologic fieldwork. Senior I.S. has just started and I am already learning skills I will take with me after graduation.

I would like to give a special thanks to both Lauren Vargo and Dr. Wiles for making this experience so great, as well as the National Park Service and National Science Foundation for all their support.

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