work and play on McCall Glacier
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Panoramic photo by Matt Nolan EXPERT Taken 21:30, 29/04/2010 - Views loading...

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work and play on McCall Glacier

The World > North America > USA > Alaska > Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

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Taking ice cores on McCall Glacier is hard work, so it's nice to take a break and go sledding occassionally.  The ice we remove here get's bagged, tagged, and stored temporarily under a white tarp on the snow.  After a day of drilling, we move the ice to a freezer within the snow until it gets flown back to Fairbanks.  This ice has clues to many climate processes.

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Nearby images in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

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A: Ice Core from McCall Glacier

by Matt Nolan, 40 meters away

Here we have just extracted about 9 meters of snow, firn, and ice from from McCall Glacier.  The dril...

Ice Core from McCall Glacier

B: McCall Glacier (08 Aug 07 17:18)

by Matt Nolan, 70 meters away

Hot sunny days lead to melting even in the highest reaches of the glacier.

McCall Glacier (08 Aug 07 17:18)

C: Weather stations in the Upper Cirque of McCall Glacier (080812 1036)

by Matt Nolan, 100 meters away

There are a variety of weather stations shown in this photo, taken near the end of the 2008 field sea...

Weather stations in the Upper Cirque of McCall Glacier (080812 1036)

D: McCall Glacier (09 Aug 07 14:35)

by Matt Nolan, 170 meters away

McCall Glacier (09 Aug 07 14:35)

F: McCall Glacier (09 Aug 07 14:31)

by Matt Nolan, 290 meters away

The upper cirque of McCall Glacier used to spill through this notch in the rock and connect with cirq...

McCall Glacier (09 Aug 07 14:31)

G: Ice cores inside our freezer on the glacier

by Matt Nolan, 310 meters away

Ice cores from McCall Glacier stay frozen inside a freezer we constructed on the glacier.  Once the b...

Ice cores inside our freezer on the glacier

H: Ice radar on McCall Glacier

by Matt Nolan, 310 meters away

We measure the thickness of the McCall Glacier using ice radar.  The radar is in the sled, and the la...

Ice radar on McCall Glacier

I: McCall Glacier (09 Aug 07 15:56)

by Matt Nolan, 380 meters away

McCall Glacier (09 Aug 07 15:56)

This panorama was taken in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

This is an overview of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The biggest city in Alaska is Anchorage, sitting in Cook Inlet on the coast of the north pacific. Suburban expansion in Anchorage means houses are being built up into the mountains behind the city.

People in these new developments complain about "the wildlife" sometimes but you know what? You're gonna get moose in your yard when you build houses on their terrain. They will eat your flowers and sleep in your driveway, and stare at you over the top of a parked full-size pickup truck. They're like cows on stilts. I'm just trying to give you an idea of the scale of things up in Alaska, where there are more small planes per capita than anywhere else in the US. Many small villages get their fuel supply flown in by large aircraft, and that's it for the year.

North of Anchorage there are six hundred miles of mountains with very few roads or people, and then up at the top of that expanse is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's about nineteen million acres of space, or seventy-seven thousand square kilometers.

If you put a map of the state of Alaska on top of a map of the United States, Alaska would cover half of the country. Alaska by itself is the size of half of the United States. That's an easy idea to miss because most maps shrink Alaska when they show it next to the continental U.S.

Back to the pictures: locals in Kavtovik make use of the natural environment. Whale bones on the beach are an example of the subsistence lifestyle which has been going on here for long before airplanes and panoramic pictures.

Alaska is beautiful in the fall season. Fireweed turns bright red and the birch trees change to gold. You have no idea what air is supposed to smell like until you visit Alaska.

This is a really interesting set of pictures. Scientists get the award for "most thorough documentation" of a spot.

Okay, I haven't personally been up as far as AWNR, but I can tell you just from hiking Girdwood that it's a very very amazing feeling to walk for a while, turn around, and see absolutely nothing man-made anywhere in your field of vision, except your boots.

Mattanuska Thunder!

Text by Steve Smith.

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