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> Thursday, June 22nd, 2006, Ice Formation - Aufeis
post Jun 23 2006, 08:35 PM
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On Thursday, June 22nd, we drove thirty minutes away from camp to see aufeis. Aufeis is a German word meaning “ice on top”. It is formed when water from a spring or stream emerges and freezes on top of previously formed ice. Check out the pictures below.
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I am pointing to the layers in the aufeis.
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Ice crystals that were scraped off of an outside layer of aufeis.
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Spectacular waterfall in aufeis cave
Aufeis has been the most spectacular feature of the Arctic landscape I have witnessed so far. I have observed beautiful things all over the Arctic each day, but the turquoise blue ice layers stacked on top of one another forming caves, valleys, and waterfalls were absolutely gorgeous! We walked on top of the aufeis. Then, we walked under and through the aufeis. It was thrilling especially the part where I fell through and into the water. I stepped on a newly formed piece of aufeis. Oops! biggrin.gif

We spent six hours in the field counting new bud growths. Various willow and birch shrubs had yellow marking tape placed on them last summer. Each plant was numbered as well. This allowed for the scientists to track how much new growth was on the plant in a year.

There were one billion mosquitoes swarming around us, and I believe one thousand landed on me. smile.gif However, scientists never explore the Arctic Circle in the summer without bug jackets. VECO Polar Resources was kind enough to allow me to borrow a bug jacket for my journey along with all of my other Arctic clothing. Thank you, VECO!
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Theo, a graduate student from Hawaii, and Syndonia Bret-Harte, biologist from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, counting new buds

I had an awesome day exploring!

Cool facts about Alaska:

The word igloo means building.

Alaska’s coastline totals 33,904 miles. It borders the Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, and Arctic Ocean.

Most Alaskans refer to any place other than Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks as falling in “the bush”.

Note: I read an excellent book over the past two days. It is a book for middle school students. However, anyone interested in the life of an Inuit boy struggling with his way of life may want to check out the book. The name of the book is Dogsong written by Gary Paulsen. Gary Paulsen enjoys writing about adventures. He is a master storyteller. He has raced twice in the Iditarod. It is a great book about the journey of a teenage boy struggling with the new world ways and the old world ways of Inuit life. The following is a listing of some of Gary Paulsen's books I have not read, but they deal with the Iditarod and his love of dogs: Woodsong, Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, My Life in Dog Years, and Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northerners.
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