The North Slope, Thermokarsts, and “The Burn”

The North Slope of Alaska is a beautiful and rugged place.  My current graduate field sites lie in the foothills of the Brooks Range, north of treeline, at the boundary between mountains and tundra.  The views of caribou, expansive cottongrass tundra, Pingos, and the like, make a trip to Arctic Alaska well worth it, but I advise travelers to prepare themselves for anything because it is a long way to the nearest popsicle stand.

From 2010-2012, I worked with the Arctic LTER at the Toolik Field Station.  The station is about 350 miles north of Fairbanks, AK and 120 miles south of the Arctic Ocean.  Three projects I helped with were a) long-term monitoring of lakes for the LTER, b) assessing the impact of thermokarsts on aquatic systems and studying the frequency of thermokarsts in the past, and c) studying the impact of the Anaktuvuk River Fire on lake ecosystems.  Here are some pictures from the thermokarst and fire projects.