News Archive

November 22, 2016
Around 65 million years ago, a massive asteroid crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. The impact and subsequent effects wiped out about 75 percent of all life on Earth, including most of the dinosaurs. Scientists studying the resulting Chicxulub crater are learning how large asteroid impacts deform rocks in a way that may produce habitat advantageous to early life forms. In April and May 2016, an...
November 22, 2016
Staff at the University of Alaska Fairbanks helped with a successful test of a high-altitude glider to help evaluate how advanced surveillance technologies could be used to track winged vehicles returning from space. During the test this fall in Oregon, researchers at UAF's Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration supported the drop of a small unmanned glider from a high-altitude...
October 24, 2016
CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, 907-474-7902, mlgrimes@alaska.edu A new mapping project has identified regions worldwide that are most susceptible to dramatic permafrost thaw formations, known as thermokarst, and the resulting release of greenhouse gases. University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers David McGuire and Vladimir Romanovsky were part of the project, which was led by University of Alberta...
October 13, 2016
On a recent river trip down the Porcupine River, my friend Garrett Jones and I nosed into a few townsites we saw on the map. Old Camp, Canyon Village and Shuman House were all silent places with no people but the same unique regional touch: Decorative stamped-metal ceiling panels tacked up as outhouse walls.   During our 200-mile trip down the Porcupine's length in Alaska, we saw no...
October 6, 2016
YUKON FLATS — Out here, in a smooth plain stretching over Alaska’s wrinkled face, water and tree and mud dissolve to fuzz at each horizon. No hills or bumps. An ocean of sky. An observer once said Yukon Flats looks like a place where God forgot to put something.   Garrett Jones and I are camped on a giant island not far from the Yukon River map feature labeled "Halfway Whirlpool."...
September 29, 2016
Sometimes, a great idea arrives ahead of its time. A person squints at a raw landscape, thinks about it in his bunk on a heaving ship, dreams of it. He scribbles a diagram. He remains quiet years later as others rediscover the same thing.   Such was the case of a rugged geologist who island-hopped in the Aleutians following World War II. Thinking about the age of rocks he found, the...
September 22, 2016
Alaskans love fungi. This was evident one Saturday when author and mycologist Lawrence Millman offered a mushroom walk at Creamer’s Field on one of the wettest days of the yellow-leaf season.   “Eighty people showed up in the rain, all eager to learn about fungi,” Millman said by email after returning to his home in Massachusetts. “I dare say the hunter-gatherer instinct is alive and well...
September 15, 2016
CANWELL GLACIER — This summer, Sam Herreid has slept for 12 nights on these rocks that ride slowly downhill on a mass of ice. For a few days at a time during the last six summers, the 28-year-old has lived on this ephemeral landscape in the eastern Alaska Range. From his regal perch, he is learning how rock cover affects glacier melt.   Sometimes, the Ph.D graduate student at Northumbria...
September 8, 2016
Rabies is a death sentence for any animal. Experts have wondered how a virus survives when it kills all the creatures it infects.   "We don't have a really good answer to that," said UAF's Karsten Hueffer. "It probably has to do with the long incubation time of the virus, which can be months."   Hueffer and his colleagues, including four university undergraduate students, wrote a...
September 1, 2016
UAF FARM FIELDS — Gliding in with their wings folded like paper airplanes, nine Canada geese drop their paddle feet and prepare to land in a corner of this cleared plain.   On this early fall day, the birds could use an air traffic controller. Their landing zone of barley stalks is clogged with the rusty brown bodies of sandhill cranes, strutting like Mick Jagger.   The geese flap...