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> Arctic Dinosaur Ecosystem: North Slope, Alaska

Rocks for Wyatt

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Description: A great number of bad weather days have restricted us to camp because it is too dangerous to clamber up the bluff to the quarry. With little to do at camp, I often explore the gravel lined beaches of the Colville River searching for interesting rocks for my two-year old son Wyatt. These are examples of the many colors of rocks found along the river.

Chris Stops Slip with ...

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Description: Chris Strganac uses a mattock to stop his descent down the bluff into the Colville River. Most of the trail has slumped into the river and the portion that remains is extremely muddy and slippery.

Preparing to Leave Umiat

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Description: Despite poor weather, the pilots of Wrights Air Service managed to arrive in Umiat on time. All expedition gear and samples are loaded onto Cessna Caravans for the flight back to Fairbanks.

Slinging the Skull fro...

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Description: A moment of relief overcomes all team members as the skull makes it way to Umiat. The helicopter pilot estimated the skull jacket weighs 800 pounds.

Dino Group with Skull ...

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Description: A few of the Dino Group pose with the huge jacket containing the prized skull. It took a tremendous effort to get the skull liberated from the quarry. The only step remaining is successfully slinging it to Umiat.

Team Member Boarding H...

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Description: One team member had to be extracted from the field due to a potential eye injury. The Search and Rescue team reports that it can rescue anyone on the North Slope within 90 minutes. Everyone was happy to learn that the extracted team member was doing well back in Fairbanks.

Search and Rescue Team...

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Description: This is the logo on the helicopter for the Search and Rescue team from Barrow.

Colville River from He...

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Description: The Colville River is below my feet as Chris and I are lifted back to camp after struggling to get the skull in the sling net atop the quarry.

Cesna 206

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Description: A Cesna 206 was used to extract all team members from the field back to Umiat. The large wheels on the plane allowed it to land on gravel bars near our campsite. Unfortunately, it could not land closer to our campsite. As a result, we had to drag ALL gear a few hundred yards, through a tangle of willows, so the plane could be loaded with gear. Each flight carried gear and one person.

Arctic Ground Squirrel

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Description: The arctic ground squirrel (a.k.a. - sic sic) often visits the quarry. These rabbit sized animals have terrorized the research team for weeks on end using uncanny methods of distraction. A high pitched bark draws all attention to a sic sic next to the quarry. With all eyes focused on the noisy sic sic, its other family members chew through packs to steal lunches.

Plastering in Pouring ...

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Description: Chris and Thomas add additional pieces of plaster covered burlap to an undercut portion of the pachyrhinosaur skull. Even though conventional methods yield poor results when plastering in cold rain, the team has no choice. The skull most be rolled free from the quarry tomorrow or it will be lost.

Tony Plastering Prized...

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Description: No longer able to await better weather, Tony races against the clock to jacket and remove a potentially articulated pachyrhinosaur skull. The skull is locked in solid rock and many days have been spent carefully chiseling the skull free from the frozen tundra. If the skull cannot be freed soon, it will be left behind and probably lost to the Colville River as the quarry continues to slump.

Chris with Plaster Hands

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Description: Our extraction date for this expedition is fast approaching. Because so many days have been lost to poor weather, we are working in conditions not particularly suitable for working with plaster. One method we have used in our race against the clock is heating water on a portable campers stove. Chris Strganac (Southern Methodist University) can be seen mixing plaster with his hands as we race to get a jacket around the skull of a pachyrhinosaur.

Ok to Enter Caribou Lo...

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Description: Thomas drew on some river rocks so people would know when the Caribou Lounge (i.e. - bathroom) was occupied. This side of the rock implied it was safe to proceed further. Another message on the reverse side of the rock clearly let you know to stay back.

First Helicopter Sling

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Description: Despite a morning snow storm, we were able to work at the quarry today because the NOVA film crew arrived at camp with a helicopter. The helicopter took us to the quarry so the film crew could get some shots. They offered to take some materials to Umiat for us. This photo shows the first jacket flying from the quarry.

Dino Camp

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Description: This is a view from my tent of the Dino Camp. The large tent is designed for eight people and presently serves as our kitchen, den, library, and place to sit in bad weather.

Snow in August

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Description: Nothing makes you want to get out of your tent in the morning then freshly fallen snow. Weather in the Arctic is unusal. One moment it can be 50 degrees with partly sunny skies. Five minutes later, freezing rain accompanied by bone chilling winds. This is why seasoned researchers always carry a day pack with them loaded with a variety of clothes.

Field Sketch of Pachyr...

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Description: This field sketch of a pachyrhinosaur was drawn by Thomas Adams while he waited for bad weather to clear.

Thomas Drawing a Pachy...

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Description: Thomas Adams (Southern Methodist University) is a gifted artist. Although he is modest about his work, everyone in camp is fascinated with his talent.

Doloris Uncovers a Din...

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Description: Dolores van derKolk (University of Alaska - Fairbanks) poses next to a large dinosaur bone she uncovered at the Liscomb bed. Many bones similar to this were found during our visit to this site.



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