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> A trip to the Auf Ice, A fun journey south of toolik
Tom_Crumrine
post Jun 18 2005, 03:16 AM
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17 June 2005

Today began with a webcast where Donie and I got to speak to several groups of teachers and students from Missouri to New Hampshire. We had some technical difficulties that made us appreciate the fact that we even have the internet here, but in the end it went off pretty smoothly.

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Meredith, Greg and Joe get a break for lunch.

After that we went to work up at the plots. In addition to Donie and her husband Peter there are three awesome student assistants that help with the work. They are all super motivated and very good at field work. As I write this they are working behind me to catalog and weigh all of the samples of moss and betula and ledum that we removed today. They have really made being here quite fun and they make the work much easier to do.

The Auf Ice
Yesterday evening we drove about 1/2 an hour south of Toolik to visit the auf ice. I was really tired and considered going to bed but when I arrived to this I was very happy that I had gone.

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Auf ice is sort of like a seasonal glacier. It is created as water run off accumulates and freezes. As you look closely at the edges you can see the horizontal ridges of each layer that froze.

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If you can see past my gigantic head you can see what we found as we walked up stream. We had driven to a gravel mine and followed a river up to the beginning of the ice. As we continued up stream the ice got thicker and thicker. The places where it melted most left crevasse type openings that we first jumped over but then had to walk through.

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As we continued through the ice we began to see openings like this one that I am crouching under. It was unexpected but it is interesting how the dripping water from the edge of the ice was captured in this photo. There were also openings that allowed the light to show through.

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All of this framed in the light and the warm evening was pretty amazing to see. I had no idea that we would be looking at something like this when we headed off. Eventually we got to some points where we actually crawled under the ice to get to the next section of the river and the ice.

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Here you can see me at the beginning of the biggest ice tunnel. If you look carefully off to the left you can see other people part way through and eventually the end of the tunnel. When this opened up we were in an ice canyon about 15-20 feet deep. And after about 100 more yards we came to the end of the ice.

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I know it seems like every day I say this but it was one of the coolest things I have seen so far. It made it very easy to lay in the tundra all day today and pull moss.

By the way--if you have a question or a comment about this web journal please feel free to ask it. Anyone can ask questions or make comments not just students. Hope you enjoyed your Friday night.
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admin
post Jun 18 2005, 03:37 AM
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QUOTE(Tom_Crumrine @ Jun 18 2005, 03:16 AM)
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Great picture, Tom!

Standing near several tons of melting ice, you don't even appear to be nervous!

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Tom_Crumrine
post Jun 18 2005, 03:42 AM
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QUOTE(Ben_Wade @ Jun 18 2005, 03:37 AM)
Great picture, Tom!

Standing near several tons of melting ice, you don't even appear to be nervous!

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Ben,

I've got to admit that I was a little nervous about being under all that ice. I just couldn't pass up the picture though. You should have seen how quickly I moved out of there after it was taken.

Tom
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post Jun 18 2005, 03:52 AM
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I'll bet!

Those formations are amazing. They look completely alien.
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Robert_Oddo
post Jun 19 2005, 02:42 PM
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Very cool ice formations Tom,
Reminds me of the ones that you cna find sometimes in Tuckermans Ravine at Mt Washington. I have been reading your posts, seems like you are haveing an awesome time.
Bob
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