Alaska Archives - State of the Planet

A crowd of people stand by a waterfall flowing into a lake with a glacier and mountains in the background.

How Juneau, Alaska Responds to Yearly Glacier Floods

Glacial flooding is never predictable, but Juneau’s response has become reliably routine, thanks to scientific research and partnerships with government.

by |July 30, 2020

Remains of Cold War Plane Crash Emerging From Rapidly Melting Alaska Glacier

In June, a search party discovered newly unthawed wreckage and human remains from a crashed plane trapped in ice for 60 years. The discovery evokes the ongoing legacy of Arctic militarization.

by |July 28, 2020

Balls of Moss Travel in Herds Atop Some Glaciers and We Don’t Know Why

A new study raises intriguing questions about these green balls of vegetation that travel in unison across glacier surfaces.

by |June 12, 2020

Alaskan Coast at Risk of Catastrophic Landslide and Mega-Tsunami

Geoscientists estimate that a mountain slope could collapse into Prince William Sound within a year, and likely within 20 years, triggering devastating waves.

by |May 29, 2020

Photo Essay: Living on the Ice in Juneau, Alaska

We’re developing a technique that uses ice-penetrating radar to measure how quickly snow turns to ice. To take our measurements, we needed to camp out in the Juneau icefields for a few weeks.

by |July 26, 2019

The Columbia Glacier: Climate Change and Glacial Dynamics

One of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the world shows us that once climate change triggers retreat, glacial mechanics can make melting a whole lot worse.

by |February 23, 2018
caribou graze in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: How Drilling for Oil Could Impact Wildlife

Congress is moving closer to opening Alaska’s pristine wilderness to oil and gas development. What might that mean for the creatures living there?

by |December 6, 2017

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

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

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