Geosciences in Alaska


Arctic Alaska Dinosaur Project

Team Members

Preparatory Field Trip to Pt. Reyes

Field Research in Alaska

Geoscience Conceptual Framework


Trip Log: Wednesday, July 17, 2002

We awoke from Marion Creek Campground to a blue sky, despite a small shower that occurred at 5:30 am. During yesterday’s travels, Our kitchen truck had guzzled up more gas than expected, so Roland and Judy went to get gas for the truck. It’s amazing the inconvenience of having gas stations 100+ miles apart! But maybe it was a good thing, because they got to see a grizzly bear on the road as they returned with the gas.

RainbowAs we drove along the Dalton Highway, the guidebook Roland so graciously gave us read like a Dr. Seuss book: “And in the bedrock to the West, you’ll see some ‘Blue Schist, Green Schist, Albite-Epidote-Amphibolite.’” We passed some amazing scenery, including a quadruple rainbow (left)! Can you believe Roland let us stop for a camera moment?

Sukakpak Mountain

Above: At Sukakpak Mountain.
Below: Talking with Hans on the last leg of his 17-month bike trip.

Talking with Hans from Denmark

Our first stop was Sukakpak Mountain, a mountain of marble metamorphosed from Devonian limestone. But the big highlight of viewing the mountain wasn’t actually the mountain itself. It was talking to Hans Heinrick Samuelson of Denmark who flew into Buenos Aires, biked down to Tierra del Fuego, and is now headed by bike to Prudhoe Bay! He is only on his third set of tires, though he probably had to change a set just to get over Atigun Pass. He’s a geographer who will write a book about his travels entitled Half a World.

As we continued along the Dalton Highway, we encountered our first Dall Sheep! We watched a mother and her lamb feeding along the road. More Kodak moments. Lunch was at Atigun Pass, at an elevation of 4623 ft. It was beautiful there with 2 cirques in view (cirques are basins at the head of glaciers where snow accumulates). We looked at the conglomerates and, of course, took strike and dip. As always, Phil filled us in with information on the local flora, including the Alaskan poppy.

We wanted to also mention pingos, which are mounds of some sort, but we’re still blurry on how exactly they’re created. Other note of interest: the Dalton Highway runs parallel to the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, which at some points zig-zags and other times hides underground and later resurfaces. At last we got to our campground, which is adjacent to Holden Creek whose waters were so soothing to our feet.

A mother Dall sheep and her lamb along the road to Atigun Pass.

Glacial cirque
Our lunch-time view of a cirque on Atigun Pass. We gathered ice for our cooler from this cirque!

The Dalton Highway (Haul Road) paralleled the pipeline all the way to Deadhorse.

Reporters for the day: Peg and Phelana

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Project partners and sponsors:
  West Contra Costa Unified School District   UC Museum of Paleontology   University of Alaska Museum    National Science Foundation    The Mechanics Bank
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