Alaska

A tsunami can occur as ocean crust (brown area) dives under continental crust (orange), causing the ocean floor to suddenly moves. In one region off Alaska, researchers have found a large fault and other evidence indicating that the leading edge of the continental  crust has split off, creating an area that can move more efficiently, and thus may be more tsunami-prone. (Anne Becel)

New Images From Under Alaska Seafloor Suggest High Tsunami Danger

Scientists probing under the seafloor off Alaska have mapped a geologic structure that they say signals potential for a major tsunami in an area that normally would be considered benign.

by |July 31, 2017
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Creating Earthquake Heat Maps: Temperature Spikes Leave Clues in the Rock

When a fault slips, the temperature can spike by hundreds of degrees, high enough to alter organic compounds in the rocks and leave a signature. Lamont scientists have developed methods to use those organic signatures to reconstruct past earthquakes and better understand what controls them.

by |December 16, 2016
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Photo Essay: Where the Trees Meet the Tundra

Due to warming climate and increasing human exploitation, far northern forests and the tundra beyond are undergoing rapid changes. In northern Alaska, scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions are studying the responses of trees at the very edge of their range.

by |November 16, 2016
Near the arctic circle in northern Alaska, forests begin giving way to tundra. as cold air, frozen soils and lack of sunlight squeeze out trees. Researchers are investigating how warming climate may affect the ecology of this boundary. (All photos: Kevin Krajick) CLICK TO VIEW A SLIDESHOW

Where Trees Meet Tundra, Decoding Signals of Climate Change

In northern Alaska’s Brooks Range, the earth as most of us know it comes to an end. The northern tree line-a boundary that circles all of earth’s northern landmasses for more than 8,300 miles, and forms the planet’s biggest ecological transition zone–runs through here. Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying how climate may change it, and the tundra beyond.

by |November 16, 2016
A side view of the June 28, 2016, Glacier Bay landslide. Photo: Paul Swanstrom/Mountain Flying Service.

Massive Landslide Detected in Glacier Bay’s Fragile Mountains

A 4,000-foot-high mountainside collapsed in Glacier Bay National Park this week in a massive landslide that spread debris for miles across the glacier below. Scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying it to improve understanding of landslide risks.

by |July 2, 2016
A 200 million ton landslide on Oct. 17 local time in Icy Bay, Alaska, landed on the toe of Tyndall Glacier and in the water of Taan Fiord. It was detected by seismologists on the other side of the country. NASA Image

Detecting Landslides from a Few Seismic Wiggles

Over the last six years, seismologists Göran Ekström and Colin Stark have been perfecting a technique for picking out the seismic signature of large landslides. They just discovered North America’s largest known landslide in many years – 200 million tons of sliding rock in Alaska.

by |December 18, 2015
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Ancient Faults & Water Are Sparking Earthquakes Off Alaska

Ancient faults that formed in the ocean floor millions of years ago are feeding earthquakes today along stretches of the Alaska Peninsula, and likely elsewhere, a new study suggests.

by |November 16, 2015
Kayaktivists greet Shell's Arctic Drilling Rig in the Port Angeles, Washington.

Alaska: Hotspot for Oil and Climate Change

In September, Shell Oil abandoned its offshore oil drilling projects in the Alaskan Arctic. Why is Arctic drilling so controversial and what impacts will Shell’s announcement have?

by |November 12, 2015
Arctic Fieldwork

The Arctic’s Secret Garden

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory marine biologists Craig Aumack and Andy Juhl spend a month each spring in Barrow studying the algae dwelling in and under the sea ice. Their goal is to learn more about the different species of algae that compose these communities and their role in the Arctic marine food web.

by |October 10, 2013
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Strange Bedfellows in the Climate Change Saga: Taiga to Tundra

In the nine-hour drive on the great Dalton Highway to Toolik Field Station one starts out in the boreal forest, which is also called the “taiga,” but the forest eventually disappears. More accurately, trees disappear. Leaving Fairbanks, one drives through beautiful stands of spruce, birch, and aspen trees, but as one gets closer and closer to the Brooks Range, a beautiful mountain range one has to cross to get to the tundra, the climate gets colder, the permafrost builds, and the forest begins to disappear.

by |June 25, 2013