Geosciences in Alaska


Arctic Alaska Dinosaur Project

Team Members

Preparatory Field Trip to Pt. Reyes

Field Research in Alaska

Geoscience Conceptual Framework


Trip Log: Thursday, July 18, 2002

We camped last night at Holden Creek, a stopping point on our way to Deadhorse. Surrounded by the sweeping mountains of the Brooks Range we were enthralled by our view down the Atigun Valley. We awoke this morning to a bright blue cloudless sky and a mild temperature of ~68°. After our breakfast of bagels and cream cheese (yes there is really a Bay Area/Alaska connection) we prepared for our day hike to Castle Rock (so named by Roland because of its resemblance to a castle, of course).

Hiking toward Castle Rock
We ascend the trail to Castle Rock.

Marine fossils in limestone
Some of the marine fossils found in the limestone below Castle Rock.

Phil caught doing what he loves best—examining local flora.

Forget-me-notCastle Rock is composed of massive beds of carboniferous Lisburne limestone containing fossils, some dating back to more than 300 million years ago. As we walked to the fossil sites, we were continually amazed by the profusion and variety of wildflowers in bloom. Phil, our resident botanist, was constantly being called upon to identify something new. Every elevation change seemed to provide us with different plants, ranging from yellow Tundra Roses to bright blue Forget-Me-Nots, Alaska’s state flower (right).

Dall sheep greeted us from their impossible trails on the sides of cliffs, and watched us as we explored. We actually followed some of their pathways as we climbed over 1000 feet. We checked out a small limestone cave, dubbed Dip and Strike (otherwise known as Bud Cave), saw a possible falcon nest, had a short visual presentation on attitude (the geology kind that is) and marveled at a small glacial cirque that is on its way to becoming a rock glacier. And the view from the top was worth every step up that steep climb and every mosquito encountered.

Following narrow sheep paths on the climb
Peg, Pam and Pat posing on the narrow trail.

exploring the ice cave
Peg and Phil explore the ice cave.

Fierce mosquito
A mosquito poses on Phelana’s boot to show its size and ferocity.

When we returned to camp, most hikers opted for a cold foot bath in the creek, but a few of our hardier team members pulled out a Frisbee. Then, curry for dinner completed our Berkeley kind of day.

Reporters of the day: Peg and Pat

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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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