The University ofAlaska
EPSCoR program, NASA IPY and NSF IPY, Thermal State of Permafrostprograms
are conducting an outreach effort in conjunction with it's
research focuson permafrost and infrastructure. The
outreach effort has been termed the"Permafrost
Health" program and consists of installing permafrosttemperature
Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP) in
Live Webcast of Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP)
Sunday 29 June 2008 - Thursday, 3 July 2008
The Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP), hosted by the
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), will be held in Fairbanks, Alaska,
from Sunday, 29 June through Thursday, 3 July 2008. International
Permafrost Conferences are held every five years under the auspices of
the International Permafrost Association (IPA). The IPA was officially
organized in 1983 during the Fourth International Conference on
Permafrost. NICOP will celebrate the 25th anniversary of IPA and the
125th anniversary of the International Polar Year with special IPA
emphasis on the thermal state of permafrost throughout the polar
Ninth International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP) UAF Summer Courses
The following courses are offered in conjunction with the Ninth
International Conference on Permafrost (NICOP). There are two offerings of
Introduction to Permafrost and Frozen Ground Engineering (one at the
undergraduate level and one at the graduate level) and one offering of
Understanding the Role of Permafrost in a Rapidly Warming Climate.
Introduction to Permafrost and Frozen
Ground Engineering (1 undergraduate credit)
9 am to 1 pm, Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. Duckering 344 Instructor: Yuri Shur
Introduction to Permafrost and Frozen
Ground Engineering (1 graduate-level credit)
9 am to 1 pm, Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. Duckering 344 Instructor: Yuri Shur
Understanding the Role of Permafrost
in a Rapidly Warming Climate
9 am to 5 pm Wednesday and Thursday
9 am to 1 pm Friday Akasofu (IARC) 417 Instructor: Kenji
Yoshikawa, Larry Hinzman
Finland this week for
is located almost theother side of
that has 11 hours time difference. But many similarities,native
people still have Reindeer and snow country. Kenji met his friend (Prof.MattiSeppala)at
Hehas other special code name “Dr. Palsa”!
He is studying for Palsa in northernFinland
over 40 years. Palsa is frozen mound usually
developed thicker peatarea in discontinues
permafrost regions. One of the our discussion was the
siteselection for our Finland Permafrost
Observatory. He is definitely best personto ask
permafrost condition and villages for northern
. He gave me two potentialsites where are Kevo
and Kilpisjarvi.We will most likely install Kilpisjarvi,
hopefully thissummer! During meeting banquet, we
visited small island, that have displyfamasGerman Sub “U-boat”. This looks still good
shape! More than 50 years!
Water hasoverflown the banks of the Kwigkuk
in the bush
of EmmonakonFriday afternoon. Villagers watch the water rise
during break-up of the frozenice on the river. The
flooding started behind the AC store and in the downtownhousing
area of the village and covered the main road by 6:00 pm. The road totheEmmonak airport has been closed and families are
moving from low-lyingareas to higher ground. They
have been on flood alert for two days since theNational
Weather Service warned of large amounts of ice coming down the YukonRiver
are headed for the Yupik village.
(Photo and reported by Diana DeStafeno,
Ourhero Henry (principal
“Bill’s” son) save dataloggers from this
flooding event! Heand his mother Diana searched
instruments at borehole site on Thursday (May22). He found the sensor/datalogger
and wiring in the field. They had to gothrough about
1 foot of water around the ground temperature monitoringsite.Henry did great job andcontinoe to support
Thank you Henry!
on Friday, May 23, 2008
Romanovsky) and Kenji left
midnight of May 13 for Eagle. Weplan to look for
Tom (Osterkamp) ‘s borehole, to drill permafrost monitoringstation
hole and giving lecture at school one day including 16 hours drive!This
is a little bit big day for us. That why we decide to leave town previousday
(midnight). Vlad drove most of the portion until
morning. At 9am, we are atEagle.The Eagle area has been thehistorical home to
people since before the arrival of Europeans inAlaska.
The first structure in present-day Eagle was a log-trading post called"Belle
Isle," built around 1874. In the late 1800s, Eagle became asupply
and trading center for miners working the upper
and its tributaries. By 1898, its populationhad
exceeded 1,700. In 1901 Eagle was the first incorporated city in the
It was named after the eaglesthatnested
on nearby Eagle Bluff. A United States Army camp,
, was builtat Eagle in 1900. A telegraph line
between Eagle and
was completed in 1903. The gold rushes in
lured people away fromEagle. Judge Wickersham moved
his court from Eagle to
in 1903. By1910, Eagle's population had declined to its present-day level
was abandoned in 1911. Present-day Eagle is home to mostlypeople
of European descent, but Eagle
Village has a
small population that is about 50percent Gwichʼ
in. The town enjoyedsome
notoriety as the location of the popular John McPhee
book "Cominginto the country" which was
published in the 1970s (from Wikipedia).
we looking for borehole. Tom with DOT drill 1985
near airport. This datais very
important for us. At that time permafrost temperature was -3.6dC. So weexciting
to check today’s permafrost temperature. About hour later,
we cannotfind any “ordinary” borehole except ¾”
copper pipe. This looks not Tom’s normalinstallation.
But we cannot find other than this, we think maybe this. Also capwas
open and refreeze inside of hole! We will bring steam system for thawingnext
Afterthe cruising around tundra, we back
to school to find science teacher (MarlysHouse).
They play baseball beautiful city ground next of
. River isalready open to see mighty power even half
mile away from shore. We setschedule
for the class 12:40. Until then we go back to natural forest/tundra toinstall
permafrost monitoring station.
Afterthe installation, we quick back to
school and lecture permafrost to thestudents.
Students are extreamly good and well knowledge. We
had a great time,but we
have to leave soon. Road is waiting another 8 hours drive back toFairbanks!
May 10, 2008
We are back in
. Weather is completely different from
Bering Sea!It looks already summer here. We made many progress
in this spring trips. Totalover 60 villages had
permafrost station (red dot) now and additional 16 villages having frost tube or water monitoringstation
(yellow dot).Thank youfor
your support! We are approaching to edit our annual report and permafrosthandbook
for villages as well as Tunnel Man movie. Stay tune fartherinformation!
More St. Lawrence island(May7, 2008)
Kenji gave a talk at Gambellschool.
We had to leave the island after this talk. Kaji was
busy preparing toleave and packing. Outside of
school was still winter looking with stormy wind!However,
farther west of sky near Russian coast see dark gray “water sky”indicating
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
classes (3hours) this morning at Savoonga. During
Kenji’s talk, Kaji run to the borehole site to
download data, fixcap etc. At 12:10pm, class was
end, and we eat quick lunch for moving to Gambell.
Gambell is another
island located west end.
We are almost same as Russian ChukotkaPeninsula
for longitude. After we met teacher Jessica for tomorrow’s
classschedule. We hit big problem about
permission! IRA does not want to give thepermission
for drilling. Teacher and Principal help us to explain more aboutpart
of school educational program. But it does happen.
So we cannot do anything, even we haveall
equipment and pipes with us!
Monday, May 5, 2008
Kaji and Kenji went to Kiana
this morning to meet students. After30-minute talk, we all go out to see frost
tube and datalogger.
thedownload data, we went to airport for
. Pilot (Dave) just got in runway at10:00am, good timing. Three of us arrived
around noon. We enjoyed lastlunch for three. Dave
would leave for Fairbanks this afternoon, and KajiandKenji leave for Savoonga
Is.). Cessna (single engine) cannotcross ocean, that
why we took scheduled flight for Savoonga. Thanks
Dave fortaking care of us 6 days! After the lunch at
Airport Pizza, we visit Nomepermafrost station to
Flight forSavoonga was smooth but almost whiteout.
We met Doug Finn (Science Teacher) and he took his snowmachine
and sledfor drill site. Three of
us working two hours to establish permafrost station.Once
we install logger and frost tube, we back to school.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
It is beautiful morning in Teller. We eat fresh pike at breakfast from Jay!Cessna
try to approach
after Teller butwe could not by
weather. We head east to Backland (acrossthe
). Backland is beautiful weather and principal Terri andbrother
Tim help us to install permafrost station. Especially Tim stay
to helpmost of the time and give us fresh seefish!
After Backland, we went to Noataktorepalace
logger. But, we could not find station by heavy snow. Stan(teacher)
call Ezra (one of the excellent students helps us our program) tocame
looking for this. Once he came ten min. later, he found immediately!Thanks
We moved to Kiana to stay John and Mahsa’s
apartment. We had a wonderfuldinner with John’s
family and principal Sue.
Saturday, May3, 2008
It is marginal condition at Unalakleet this
morning. We decide to go northinstead of going St.
Michael and Stebbins. We change pipes at Koyuk, Golovinthen
fly to Teller. Teller school principal “Jay” pick us up at airport. Oncewe
are in Teller, we start drilling. It takes two hours to drill and establishpermafrost
station. When we finish installation,Brian (science teacher at Brevig
Mission) visit to Jay. Itis great timing for us to go Brevig
Mission. Brian and Kenji use Jay’s machinetoBrevig Mission. When kenji
fix borehole and replace datalogger, kenjidriveback to Teller.
Friday, May 2, 3008
We stay nice place at
housing last night! The schoolis located big and
comfortable former Air Force base place. Teacher Shayneorganized
nicely for us. We meet student 9am and replace dataloggers
After 10:15am we go to airport to catch Dave’s Cessna 206 to move Kaltag.There
are still a lot ofsnow inKaltag.
It not easy to find logger site! After a few shoveling, we find andreplacedateloggers.
we move to Unalakleet. We have been here last month
but we cannotdrill here for shipping reason. We get
drill permission from city and talk to students. After 3:30pm, Kim driveto
the site for us! We drill 3hours to establish site. After the establishpermafrost
station, weeatpizzaand rest.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
It is Beautiful day! in
. We fly to
. School helper“William” drive
to runway to pick Kenji up. Kaji and Dave fly to
Kenji meet Genie and Dora (only two teachers in school),who
last year! Kenji immediately start drilling and onehour
students for permafrostlecture. Two hours later, Air
plane back to
and Kenji is justdone here.
We all move to next village “Huslia”. About
1hour and 50 min. flying. Weare at Huslia,
Teacher Geoff and many high school students pick us up at runwayand
drive around town to find drill site. End up, we
decide drill near air portis better! All students
and us drill and quickly finish because warm sunnyweather
and sandy materials! After install loggers we move to Hughes. HughesisKoyukuk
River village and old mining activities. We cannot find
good spot todrill! Princepal
Bob is great teacher but we decide not drill here and alsoweather
getting marginal. We decide to move for
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
It is snow! I expect beautiful spring day but NOT!
Kenji and Kaji stand by airplane in the morning
since 7:30am, Finally Dave(Wright Air pilot) call us
to go by twin engine plane”aroud noon. This is great decision!Single
engine can not fly up cloud but twin can. We are going to VenetiethenKenji off plane to start drilling. Kaji
and Dave continue to fly for Arctic village. At ArcticVillage,Becky pick him up and tobring to
school. Kaji replace datalogger
since last year and return to Venetie.When the Kaji
and Dave back to Venetie, Kenji is almost done
drilling. We tell to teacher Carmen dataloggerandfrost
tube. After the establish site, we move to
Time is running out quick, after 5 pm,no
one can hold in
.KenjiandKaji walk to the
permafrost site replace loggers. Kenji needabit
time to fix cables by chewing animals. The weather is getting bad here inFt.
Yukon too at 7pm.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
for your support for our 2008 snowmachine trip.
We were safely coming back toFairbanks. We really
enjoy meeting many teachers, students, local communitypeople...
During three weeks of trip, we run total 1450 miles, visited 24villages. We just
made short 3-minute movie for this trip summary. Ifyou
have a chance, try following address:
We have planed thefollow-up
trip next week to download data, fixing pipes etc using Cessna 206.You will be
able to see “Where are we flying ?” everyday at our website
scheduledepends on weather.
It will be hard say when we are where?!
you check ourblog.
You can find out where we are! And see a lot of pictures!
Expected date for visiting schools
Eagle, Circle, Chacktiak, Ft.Yukon,
, Tanana, Allakaket, Hughes,
Kaltag, Unalakleet, St. Micheal, Stebbins, Kotlik,Emmonak,
Teller, Bravig Mission,
May5: Noorvik, Kiana,
Friday, April 25, 2008
We are preparing follow up trip by using Cessna 206. Wright Air support forthis
one week continue village trip. We had a bit cargo problem for our snowmachine
trip last month. Especially earlier schools were not enough materialsto
set up permafrost monitoring station and also some of the village was onlydrill
hole without meeting students because of arriving weekend. So idea ofthis
trip will be complete instrumentation and meeting students, but alsoestablish
new schools too.
Here is challenge part!
We try to visit as many as possible villages between April 30 and May 6. Youwill
find out how many villages we can do via this web page. We will alsoupload
a lot of aerial photos of beautiful part of
! Stay tune!
. Our 2008 snow
machine trip was over. It was nice massivefocused
three weeks. Four of us worked hard everyday straight. Total 1450miles,we
run across the western
visited 24 villages.Many students
and teachers did support our program. Wedeeply
appreciate all of them. Our final active report will postour
web site shortly. You can see our 3minutes summarized movie at You Tube (
) or our web site (
). Please check this movie "The BigCountry"!
remained Fridtjof Nansen’s message. I
always find out dreams andgetting energy for the
future exploring from the last paragraph of his FarthestNorth
The ice and the long moonlitpolarnights,
with all their yearning, seemed like a far -off dream from anotherworld
- a dream that had come and passed away. But what would like be worthwithout
After we move to McGrath school. We join Nicole's middle school science class
and high school chemistry class. all students are well knowledge and great
time. Once class room talk was done, we go out to drill frost tube and deeper
temperature monitoring hole. frost tube site are developed out side of
classroom and white spruce forest floor. deeper borehole was installed about
2km east of town, where presence of permafrost.
Kaji and Kenji visit Takotna and McGrath on Monday. Takotna is located about
20 miles west of McGrath. Principal (Bob) pick us up at runway by snowmachine
(He has nice 4 stroke Arctic Cat!). After arriving school, we install frost
tube. Bob help with us all the time during -14dF cold outside. Early
afternoon, pilot (Mike) pick us up for fly back to McGrath.
Our poster is presenting at Alaska Forum of the Environment, Anchorage. It is
great exposure to show our activity to the state wide community. Kaji and
Kenji stop by the Egan convention center on Sunday. If you need poster, let me
know we may make copy for you.
We have new member to help our program. His name is "Kaji" who is
UAF graduate student at department of Journalism.
So he is very good at recording our activity!
We (Kaji, Tohru and Kenji) visit Healy and Anderson schools to give a talk and
check out frost tube.
Most of the schools in Alaska start this week.
We are also try to work hard and to make exciting year for 2008.
Our tentative time schedule for this year is following:
January 1 - May 16: Visiting schools around Alaska and Yukon Canada
including snow machine trip along the coastal villages
May 16-May 30: Greenland
September- December: Back to Alaska
We are hoping more than 100 schools participants in this program at the end of
Thank you for your support.
Any question, please send e-mail for us!
We wish you a great successful and exiting year for 2008.
There are now 40Permafrost Monitoring Stations successfully established in
Alaska, Siberia, Canada, Mongolia and Greenland. We will continue to install
more stations at schools in all of the Arctic Countries. Please check
www.uaf.edu/permafrost for updates of our new members!
In the web page you will find our new “Frost Tube” program. This program
is aimed to monitor changes in the active layer throughout the school year.
NSF Globe program, ACM program and TSP programs are our collaborators for
creating a strong monitoring network! We are extremely happy this year because
several proposals were awarded towards this project from NSF IPY and NASA.
This will be great step for us to be able to visit more schools and establish
The International Polar Year is a large scientific program focused on the
Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009. IPY, organized through
the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO), is actually the fourth polar year, following those in
1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8. IPY will involve over 200 projects, with thousands
of scientists from over 60 nations examining a wide range of physical,
biological and social research topics. It is also an unprecedented opportunity
to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in
real-time. We are happy to be part of an IPY project!
Thank you for your support!
Tohru Saito & Kenji yoshikawa
Tohru Saito and Kenji Yoshikawa participant American Geophysical Union (AGU)
in San Francisco. AGU is one of the biggest earth science meeting in the
world. more than 10,000 scientist came from all over the world. We present
both poster and oral presentations for our permafrost outreach program. We are
so grad to talk many people who interest our effort.
Vladimir Romanovsky and Kenji Yoshikawa met near Gulkana airport for measuring
permafrost temperature. Prof. Tom Osterkamp set up this site since mid 1980s.
This is one of the most exciting monitoring sites for all science community.
We had a little bit hard time to work by the cold morning. But we successfully
measure nice temperature profile.
Kenji had a opportunity to talk for local community at night. Janelle and Dave
(Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE)) organized and prepared
fantastic place (National Park Service). There is great team work with Glenn
Hart (Program Manager at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve). It
was nice Friday evening with good audience and staff.
Kenji visit Kenny Lake on November 29th and 30th. After the classroom lecture,
Kenii and Students download data from permafrost monitoring station. Kenji
also install frost tube for monitoring active layer just next of the station.
We re-visit Pearl Creek Elementary School today. This is third visiting for us
and already full two year data collected from here. Students are well
understand permafrost, especially multi-age class works great for teach each
After we read frost depth using frost tube, we cloth looked two years data and
discuss difference between 2006 and 2007.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Frost tube works great!
The students from Randy Smith Middle School visit their permafrost (frost
tube) monitoring site to read the depth of the ground freezing!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Frost Tube at Randy Smith Middle School
Frost tube is great way to monitoring seasonal frost layer. It is easy to make
just corored water fill in the clear tube. Whatever the ice formed, ice does
not include color. the bounday of color and clear is bounday of freezing
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Big Triangle part 2 (Northway)
Next morning (Oct.23, 2007) after we download data from Kenny Lake, We start
drive for Northway another 180 miles. The way go up to Northway, we stop by
Gakona, Chistochina, Slana, Mentasta Lake schools for future borehole
Northway is the almost boder village to Canada. That why some of the students
have relatives in Beaver Creek (Canada). We arrive village after 6:00 pm and
Drill is quite easy in the frozen sand all the way to 6m. We finish all of the
installation around 8pm.
On Wednesday morning, Kenji met science teacher (Jennifer) and students. We
have a chance to talk two classroom until noon. Then after checking
temperature, we head back to Fairbanks.
Big Triangle part 1 (Glennallen, Kenny Lake)
We (Tohru and Kenji) have a plan to visit schools in the Copper River
watershed area this week.
Big triangle means the road system making triangle shape between Delta
Junction, Glennallen, and Tok in Alaska. At first we stop by Gakona study
site, then download Glennallen high school.
After the download, we move to Kenny Lake. At the Kenny Lake school, we
install datalogger and sensors.
Cantwell, Denali Science Center, Healy, and Anderson
We had busy schedule for visiting four schools today!
At first, we drove straight to the Cantwell from Fairbanks (150 miles) in
Once we arrived Cantwell, we discussed with pricipal (Pete) about frost tube
and heaving monitoring issue.
After the installation for the frost tube, we went to Denali Center (but not
install in this time). Then we went to Healy to install frost tube.
After Healy, we went to Anderson. School was already ended and no students
around. but Tricia (science teacher) and principal Dr. Geoffrey Buerger was
waiting us to schdule drilling.
There was little bit difficult drilling in Anderson. Because of glacial
sediments were mainly gravel and boulder! We did use classic percussion method
to install PVC pipes.
We flew from Old Crow to Inuvik, and then back to Dawson with Air North, which
is the only way out of Old Crow.
From Dawson, Tohru and Kenji got back on the truck and headed to Faro (another
Kenji collected water samples at major river crossings along the way.
The road condition was not great because of snow and the wet dirt-road. We
made it to the B&B past 10pm.
Next Morning, we drove another 60km to Ross River.
Most of the students remembered Kenji.
Kneji demonstrated how the thermisters worked and showed the students what a
After the talk in class, we downloaded the data and changed the datalogger
After visiting the Ross River school, we rushed back to Faro.
Then talked to two classes at Faro in the afternoon. Again, Faro students
remembered Kenji and was able to further disscuss about permafrost, and
learned about their monitoring station.
We met students in the morning at the Robert Service School, Dawson. We all
went out of the classroom and installed temperature sensors in the borehole.
After the measurement of the temperature, Panya, Tohru, and Kenji catch up to
the airplane for Old Crow.
Old Crow is the only remote village in Yukon Territory, Canada. Other rests of
villages are connected with road system.
We arrived in Old Crow around 12:00 noon and met principal Vaino Latvala and
science teacher Manuela Zeitlhofer. We had snowstorms during our visit.
However, we success to install a datalogger and sensors in the borehole.
This is exciting news! Cantawell school can join us to establish permafrost
station.Cantwell School Principal and Science Teacher (Peter Hauschka) support
our program. Tohru and Kenji leave 5:30am at Fairbanks for catching 9am
science class at Cantwell. Cantawell is about160 mile south of Fairbanks (It
takes about 3 hour drive). We made on time and great time with students. after
the lecture, we had a big challenge to find permafrost. This area is sporadic
permafrost region and thick glacial till and outwash (gravel and boulder!). It
is not favable to drill and to look for permafrost. Finally, we success to
find permafrost by opinion from local residence.
Tohru and Kenji visit Manley Hot Spring on 21st of September.
Basically, we were trying to drill a deeper hole next to the existing
hole at this time. When we drilled the first hole in the Spring of 2007, we
could only go 3.5m deep.
We thought it was because the permafrost (and the air temperature
that day) was very low and ice was re-forming on the bit.
So, we wanted to give it another try to get down to 6m.
That is the standard depth for the outreach program.
Anyway, the drilling did not go well.
The reason why we couldn't go deeper was because there was a layer of
With the equipment we had it was a bit too much to tackle at the time.
So there's no change in the system or the monitoring station.
Tohru and Kenji visit Healy on Sep. 20. When we look at temperature data, we
do not see permafrost indication at schoolyard site. There was permafrost in
70s-80s. this site is degradating permafrost last 20 years!
We are visting Wainwright. Wainwright is quiet beautiful beach side village
little south west (70mile) from Barrow. Art Clark (USGS)and his team drilled
here in June and to spike through the permafrost (330m). He donate this hole
to local school education. This is one of the greatest hole and also extreamly
Vlad and Kenji had good time with high school students and new teacher (Emily)
in the morning. then Vlad start measurements to the borehole. Al (principal)
cordinate to meet student with Kenji. About 160 students are here in this
We are finnaly back to Alaska!
School was already start almost one month ago! We are going to catch up 2007
fall semester outreach program.
At first, Vladimir Romanovsky and Kenji Yoshikawa went up to North Slope
villages (Barrow and Wainwright). I will wright travel report next a few days!
Nuuk is our last vititing for our Greenland trip. Nuuk is the capital of the
Greenland (Karallit Nuunat) as well as biggest city.
We look for permafrost here. Most of the land in Nuuk is absence of
Permafrost is only presence at the base of north facing slope but also thicker
We would like say that this is southern boundary of the permafrost
distribution in Greenland!
After the drilling, we packed up and back to Fairbanks.
After two boreholes established in Ilulisat. we are moving to Sisimut. Sisimut
is second largest town in Greenland and has technical collage. We stay in
collage cabin and fix most of the augers at thier wearhouse.
After look around boreholes in Kagerlussuaq, we are move to Ilulissat.
Ilulisat is beautiful town (population 4000). The name "ilulissat"
"ice berg" in Greenlandic. Many icebergs were alway surround town.
We drill three boreholes to install data loggers.
Kenji was drill camp right bank of Lena River, when Vlad and Misha drilling at
We are separating and each operation going quite well. After a week later, we
all back to Yakutsk. Permafrost Institute set beach party for us!
We were back to Fairbanks on August 21st safely.
Then Vlad and Kenji again leave Fairbanks for Greenland on August 29.
Vladimir and Mikhail go to Lensk for drilling school program. School is still
summer holydays however, three students have interesting in this program. They
are very well understanding computer software and quickly to operate
dataloggers and reading temperature.
After organising temperature cables, we install sensors to borehole.
We picked up Kenji's luggage at airport. Then we catch another airplane from
another airport for Yakutsk.
Yakutsk is located along the Lena River 6 hour plane ride from Moscow. There
are many interesting culture by the native Yakutian, especially, horse meat
stew was excellent! Also world famouse Yakutsk Permafrost Institute is located
Our host and lead Scientist Prof. Mikhail Zheleznyak pick us up at airport.
Vladimir Romanivsky and Kenji Yoshikawa were just back from Siberia trip this
More than 24 hours airplane trip was not fun. But we had great time over
there! We will show you this week in this web!
At first, we arrived at Moscow. Kenji's luggage was missing but we enjoy
Moscow have many beautiful churches and parks in the middle of downtown and
very convenient subway transportation!
We did drill Kenny Lake School finally! Kenny Lake is most southern part of
the permafrost boundary in Alaska. We try to drill several spot around the
school since last year. However, we never found permafrost. Also the area has
lake sediments with glacier till which extremely difficult to drill for us.
The site, we drill in this time, is still school property and relatively tall
spruce forest. We start drill mid night around 2am until morning. Permafrost
seems warmer condition but including beautiful 30cm of ice layer depth at 1m
below ground surface.
Kenji is back from Asian trip and Tohru success and back 2007 Denali
The school start a little more than a month, we start think about autumn
We will plan to visit Ft. Yukon, Northway, Circle, Dawson City, Kotzbue,
So before we are getting busy, we look for good spot for drilling at Kenny
Lake School. Kenny Lake is very tricky place to find permafrost. We expect
this is one of the most southern boundaries of permafrost region in Alaska.
The way go down to Kenny Lake, we saw lynx. Also we check borehole at
Glennallen high school.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Kenji and his family visit Tokyo in June. We have a chance to talk 6 grader
students in Tokyo. They are very well behave and well understanding science.
The principal (Nishidome-Sensei) organized great introduction. We agree to
cooperate for future student science projects!
Terelj is about 2000 people live beautiful southernern boundary of Siberian
boreal forest. When I saw north facing slopes, it feel being Siberia. Once I
looked at south facing slopes, it typical mongolian grass land, where is
absent of permafrost.
All of the students in Terelj is K1-7. No high school is in here. So, we
decide to talk with younger students!
We have a chance to talk Mongolian high school today. all of the students are
well respect and understanding in English. I heard recent young generation
have been studied more in English than the Russian as second language. They
have a very interesting in permafrost and Mongolian environmental science. I
cannot forget thier beautiful and sharp eyes.
Ulaanbaatar had permafrost 50 years ago by the city construction reports.
however, we cannot find evidence today.
We select "Nalayh" city for this project. Nalayh is about 35km east
of Ulaanbartar and originally coal mining town. Coal mining was closed late
80s but well known geological condition. Permafrost is present north facing
slope and valley bottom. Active layer thickness is 3.5 to 5m deep. It is
unuseal for Alaska but common in here!
We vsit high school for setting up presentation schedule and visiting several
Sharkhuu's borehole sites. School is located middle of the town and no play
ground. We cannot find any monitoring site in school yard. We decide to use
one of the excisting boreholes.
After 5 hours flight from Tokyo, Mongolian Airline (MIAT) jet arrived
Ulaanbaatar is capital of Mongolia and over 40% of Mongolian live in this
city. City just reached 1 million people and this baby recieved appartment
from city as award.
Sharkhuu (Mongolian Academy of Science) was waiting our landing at airport. He
has been involved with the borehole network in Mongolia. He will lead in the
field campaign and efforts to interact with the Mongolian communities. He is
our host at Mongolia and let us to stay his appartmernt.
Kenji Yoshikawa will leave for Mongolia tomorrow. At first, Air plane go to
Seattle, and Tokyo. When overnight stay in Tokyo Narita airport, I will fly
for Ulaanbator on Saturday. Sharkhuu is the main organizer of this trip. Kenji
and Sharkhuu plan to install and visit 3 schools near Ulaanbator. Sharkhuu
Natsagdorj, Mongolian Academy of Science; he has been involved with the
borehole network in Mongol. He will lead in the field campaign and efforts to
interact with the Mongolian communities. Stay tune! I will report Mongolian
school and students.
It was last working day in Canada today. We had to drive a little bit more...
At first, we drove about 60km to Ross River in the morning. Ross River is
native community almost head water for Yukon River watershed. Village is
located on the permafrost but about 6m of thawed gravel layer making us to
confused the presence of permafrost. We saw big & tall white spruce with
dry forest floor sounding the village. This is typical sign of the absent of
the permafrost. However, school had been serious permafrost degradation
problems. This beautiful Ross River School builds 5 years ago, but already
many cracks in the building and still moving!
Brian (Science teacher) shows us quick tour in the building and we had a great
time with local students. EBA have a plan to drill at the school next month.
They agree to use this drill hole for our outreach program! So we do not plan
to drill here in Ross River today.
After the Ross River School GPR demonstration, we drove back to Faro. Many
stormy clouds developed around road. We were little worry about field
demonstration in Faro this afternoon. In the sky, also we saw abnormal number
of crane flying! What a interesting place here!
We made it just 30 minute before presentation for Faro school. This school had
also been permafrost problems. We had a fun time with extraordinary students.
They were so good manner and knowledge about permafrost! After the talking, we
all went out to the drill site. We demonstrated GPR and drilling. Many
students were first time to touch permafrost. We believe they enjoy it. At the
end of field demonstration, we set datalogger and back to school. Then we
drove back to Whitehorse this evening with excellent feeling because of
meeting with outstanding Faro’s students and great success of this program.
We drive another 500-600 km to go Faro today. Faro is originally mining town
and house and road is beautifully constructed. We talk to Garry (principal)
and Bruce (science teacher) about class schedule and drill site. School
building and play ground had quite bit permafrost problems. One of the
baseball field need fill in gravel every year that why grass could not
growing. When we arrived Faro, it was rain. But it looks getting better. We
decide to drill upper part of small valley next of the school. We are
successfully installed Faro permafrost monitoring site around 7pm. We back to
B&B to make temperature sensors and start datalogger. After the dinner,
sensors are in the hole and start recording. The sky is just getting orange
and beautiful sunset with some remaining cloud.
Drilling at Dawson (Sometimes we loose, but this is real life and real
We start drill in front of school using minuteman drill system. The reason of
using this system is gravel layer. Mike told us detail school property ground
conditions since 1920s and Panya’s reports, we knew the drill site had
30-100cm of gravel layer, up to 3.5m of frozen silt and gravel deeper than
3.5m. The hand operated drill system cannot go through upper gravel layer.
Once we start Minuteman, we can break through frozen gravel layer and up to
2.5m works great! Then we got problem about water system. The way of break
frozen gravel layer need air compressor or pressured water to blow out cutting
chips. We use water system for this and drill bit filled dart at the water
discharge holes at 2.5m. We just keep drill at 3m deep and to install casing.
Upper gravel collapse in the hole and never let PVC pipe go through even half
inch PVC! We try auger or core barrel to cleaning gravel layer but all failed!
We will back here again with another (hydrolic) drill system!
We drove to Dawson about 6 hours drive from Whitehorse. Dawson had gold rush
in 1898 since then the school was located same position, but the building was
rebuild several times. Current school building was build early 1980s. This is
one of the most beautiful building we saw. Panya brought many past reports for
Dawson city. We check existence of the several boreholes in the reports. These
are great materials for school students checking permafrost temperature
decadal changing. Most of the borehole/thermistors are disconnected by the
remodeling/ redesign. Very few boreholes are seems survive since 1970s. We
also plan to establish permafrost observation site in front of school.
We had presentation next day. After presentation, Panya demonstrate stereo
pair air photograph and datalogger. Then all students went out baseball field
to test ground peneteratating radar.
In the very discontinuous permafrost zone near Whitehorse, we finally found
permafrost near Golden Horn school! Karen McKenna (a local Whitehorse
permafrost/vegetation specialist) helped us greatly in finding a small patch
of permafrost near Cowley Creek! We drilled a 5 m borehole, and found a nice
30 cm thick massive ice layer at about 3 m depth. Thank you Karen!!
We do not know the complete thermal state of this permafrost site yet, but the
permafrost is estimated to be about 10 m thick.
We are now in Whitehorse and have drilled several sites at Golden Horn school.
Unfortunately, we had no luck finding permafrost there. Whitehorse is located
near the southern boundary of permafrost, so it is difficult to find
permanently frozen ground here. Seasonally frozen ground in the upper 70 cm of
the ground is common, but so far we have had no luck finding permanently
frozen ground below the seasonal frost layer.
The school students visited the drill site to see the equipment we use for
drilling and geophysical investigations (GPR: Ground Penetrating Radar). After
the field demonstration, we went back to classroom to show a permafrost slide
show. The students were great and were very interested, and we had a great
time with the Golden Horn students and teachers. Unfortunately, we still
haven't found permafrost for them to monitor, but we are not giving up yet...!
Panya (Yukon Geological Survey) and Kenji gave presentation first thing in the
morning at Beaver Creek School. Then we intall temperature sensors at borehole
After the installtion, we move to Destruction Bay. Destruction Bay School is
very small and four students are studying there. We gave presentation and
demonstrate GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar).
Kenji arrived at Beaver Creek in afternoon. This area is really interesting
about climatic conditions. One of the coldest spot of the North America is
just 20 mile from here. Permafrost is feeling much colder than Fairbanks even
lower latitude. At first, I meet Panya (Geological Survey of Yukon), we
discuss about drill site. Erin (principal) is very helpful for getting
permission. Kazu (White River First Nations) also many support for this
program to success. At the end up our discussion for drill site, Connie (White
River First Nations) helps for searching good spot for our drill site. At the
middle of excursion Kazu join to us to looking for the site. I deeply
appreciate so many people kind us and help us a lot!
At the end of discussion, we drill 8km a way from town. This is a little bit
far from town but scientifically very ideal site to monitor permafrost. We hit
big massive ice layer between 3.5-4.2m. It must be buried ice wedges.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Upper Yukon River (Canada) trip this week!
We are going to Yukon Territory, Canada this week for establishment permafrost
monitoring sites. Tentatively, we install 6 schools and schedule is following:
May 2 (Wednesday): drill Beaver Creek
May 3 (Thursday): talk Beaver Creek drive to Destruction Bay
May 4 (Friday): Destruction Bay; drive to Whitehorse
May 5 (Saturday): drill in Whitehorse
May 6 (Sunday): Drive to Ross River
May 7 (Monday): Drill Ross River
May 8 (Tuesday): Drill Faro, drive to Carmacks
May 9 (Wednesday): drill Dawson
May 10 (Thursday): Drive back to UAF/Whitehorse from Dawson
I think not many people know "Kenny Lake" even Alaskan resident.
Kenny Lake School is located in the southern part of the Copper River Basin
This is really interesting place for permafrost study.
Last 20 years, permafrost degradations dramatically and vegetation seems
We would like to establish our program at Kenny Lake School. We try to drill
last fall but failed! There is glacial deposit (boulder and clay!) in this
area and one of the most difficult drill conditions. The principal (Mr.
Carlson), science teacher (Mr. Proch), retired science teacher (Mr. Dave
Wellman), and USDA biologist (Doug Vollman) help us a lot to establish site.
But we still not success yet. I was there last week to look at potential drill
site. But many snow remain and hard to see ground condition yet. Even we do
not have snow in Fairbanks!
We will try anyway, once snow gone!
We had great time in Selawik. At first, Clyde, US Fish and Wildlife Service,
pick us up at airport. He is ideal person for us to meet in village first
time. He lived Selawik all his life. He was mayor before and currently he is
Trival Concil President. Clyde took us to drive snow machine to the Davis-Ramoth
Once we got school principal Pat Parente show school and discuss potential
drill sites. Once we eat late breakfast and waiting science teacher finish
class, we prepare drilling.
Science teacher, Greg, live here more than 28 years and retired several years
ago. However, he is temporary back to school fill in science class today. He
is not young however, he has full of energy and passion for science education.
We really like to work with person like him.
We had two lectures around noon. Then all of the students went out for
drilling. It was cold windy day. But students were fine and helping us very
well. Clyde brought EMT tube for casing.
Once we did all, the time was almost up. Clyde picked us up for airport but
before then he helped me to drill Selawik River for water sampling.
Last night we checked with Northern Air Cargo to see if our stuff made it to
After waiting over half an hour, we found out that only 11 of the 13 pieces of
equipment was on the plane. The two snow machines were still in Fairbanks...
Without the snow machines we needed to make some changes with our plan.
So, first thing this morning, we looked for the earliest flight to Noatak and
made plans to make a day trip to Noatak.
As we rushed to the airport to check in, we then learned that the flight was
on hold due to the overcast conditions around Noatak. Another hour goes by
waiting at the airport.
Suddenly we were told that they are flying and jumped on th plane.
We were flying over a blanket of clouds the entire way.
As we got closer to Noatak, the pilot lowered the plane just above the tree
tops to land.
At the school, the principal John, and the teachers Susette and Stan greeted
We were introduced to Steve, who keeps a daily record of the weather in
Before the talk, we replaced the old data logger with new ones.
The bateries were running a bit low and it was a good time to change them.
There was a lot of snow and the external casing was completely burried under
Kenji talked about the Noatak data, and how it's interesting to see signs of a
recent warming trend compared to other sites.
Tomorrow we plan to visit Selawik, but we will have to wait and see what
Today we left Fairbanks at 8:30AM to fly to Kotzebue.
The plan was to Fly to Kotzebue and snow machine to Noatak and then to
neighboring schools and a pingo.
We used Frontier Air because they have direct flights from Fairbanks.
It was mostly cloudy the entire way.
We arrived in Kotzebue before noon and went to pick up our gear at Northern
Air Cargo, which was right across the street.
Only to find that our stuff hasn't even left Fairbanks yet.
We were told that the plane will arrive at 8 PM tonight, but the office will
close at 5 PM.
We shall see what happens.
Instead of heading to Noatak today, it seems like we will be spending the
In the mean time, we visited the Selawik National Wildlife Refuge office and
talked to staff members. Kenji is hoping to visit an interesting site in the
refuge, and wanted to coordinate something for a future project. From the
meeting it seemed likely that Kenji would be able to work with them in the
This afternoon we will visit the high school and try to meet the teachers
The school teacher was very excited about our project, and he said that if we
could find a place to drill they can download the data.
Later we went to the Borough Office to see if we can talk to someone getting
permission to drill a hole. After some scrambling, Kim was able to connect us
with Grant and Emmit who shold be able to help us.
We are suppose to see them Friday...?
Northern Air Cargo let us in the building after the plane landed , but
unfortunately the snow machines did not make it to Kotzebue.
We will report on all circum-polar permafrost countries in this summer!
Please stay tune for more information.
Schedule will be following:
Norway (Spitsbergen) April 20-26
Canada (Yukon) May2-10
Russia (Yakutsk area) August 10-25
Greenland (west) September 1-10
We plan to go Kotzbue and Noatak on Wedesday. Once we arrive in Kotzbue, we
will drive up Noatak River by snow machine!
Noatak is one of the interesting borehole site.
temperature seems recent warming trend.
We have a great support team in Noatak Hhigh School. The teacher Ms. Susette
Carroll and her student Mr. Ezra Adams help us for downloading and correcting
data this winter. This was an emense contribution to our project. Much of the
excellent results of our Permafrost Health Project are due in no small part to
those in the villages willing to help us with our data.
We collected snow, tap water and river water from each schools during snow
Our lab technisian Tim Howe quickly analysing hydrogen and oxygen isotopes for
We will set up new menu for this and explaining about the isotope.
We try to release "Permafrost Letter" freequently as news letter for
our outreach community. This time (Vol.2 No.3), third issue in 2007, we make
mainly report for Yukon Snow Machine trip. If you want to download this news
letter, please click "news" in our main web page (www.uaf.edu/permafrost)
or just click right flyer.
We drilled Fort Yukon High School. Fort Yukon is the center of the villages
for Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich'in Tribal Government. It is nice town and native
people are busy for spring carnival.
During installation, science teacher Jeff McKinney (left) watch borehole and
datalogger. Evelyn James (Tribal Government) support us for drill permission,
logistics and transportation. We are so lucky to have Evelyn and Jeff to
success establishment of permafrost monitoring site in Ft. Yukon!
We are in Arctic Village tonight.
This morning we left Fairbanks at 9:00AM and got to Arctic Village before
It was nice and sunny, but the temperature display at the airport said -20.
What happened to Spring?
Th flight was smooth and we were able to see a lot of the familiar landscapes
After we flew over the Yukon River we made a brief landing at Vinetie
It was more mountainous around Arctic Village.
First we met with Dora and Becky, then said hello to the Principal Caroline.
Since it was close to lunch break, we decided to strat drilling right away.
That way if we have any trouble, there's plenty of time to deal with it later.
never know what the drill will hit until Kenji strats drilling.
The first two goes in smoothly, a sure good sign...
The ground type was sand and remined the same the entire depth of the borehole
So, luckily we were able to finish drilling before the afternoon class strated.
Kenji talked to the students about permafrost and the project.
The students then watched and helped how the thrmister is calibrated and how
they are placed in the borehole.
By the end of the day, there's a new Premafrost Monitoring Station set up in
We uploaded Lower Yukon Snow Machine trip report at our web site (www.uaf.edu/permafrost).
This is web based report (html format). So we will keep update contents of the
Please check "Lower Yukon" from the menu.
We are planing to visit Yukon Flat Schools this coming Tuesday and Wedesday.
Check this blog next week for more report!
Our schedule is following:
March 27 (Tuesday), 2007- Wright Air fly from Fairbanks 9:00am to Arctic
Village 11:00am, We will stay at Arctic Village rest of the day for drilling
March 28 (Wedesday), 2007- We move to Fort Yukon and to establish permafrost
monitoring site. We will back to Fairbanks 7:00pm.
Tohru Saito and Kenji Yoshikawa safely came back to Fairbanks on early this
morning (3/17/2007). We had a great time at villages as well as on the River
First 6-7 days were unusually cold and severe conditions for snow machine
and drill rig. However, it was getting warmer last 5 days. We stop 13
villages and talked 11 classrooms at 10 schools including for drilling 7
boreholes and installation 12 dataloggers. Local principals and teachers were
very supportive for this project and simply
great time spending with them. I believe major aspect of this great success
was their enormous aid.
Jennifer (IARC) took cares of headquarter at UAF. And Matt Irinaga (VECO)
coordinated transportation and shipping tactics. We deeply appreciate all of
During expedition, nine countries more than 360 web access was recorded on our
web site. 94% of the access was from United State.
Finally, thank you for your interest of this blog.
Please keep watch this blog. We will go to Arctic Village and Ft. Yukon next
And "Snow Machine Trip 2007 Noatak/Kobuk Rivers" will start at the
bigging of April!!