Thursday, September 29, 2011

THURSDAY, September 29, 2011

Mrs. Roberts - Are the students enjoying hearing about life in Alaska? I am having fun sharing my week with them. The world is a big place and there is so much to see! I am lucky that as a scientist I can visit these places and experience so many new things.

Researchers in our group continue to use special instruments to look at ice and soil below ground. Did you know that soil in the Arctic is frozen? You can dig a hole to roughly 15 inches before you hit solid ice. The instruments that we have can tell us where frozen soil is located and how deep it is. Students from the high school came today and watched us work for a while. One of our scientists talked to them and explained how some of our equipment works. They were very interested and surprised that we could "see" things buried deep in the ground.
We took a break this afternoon and drove around the town of Barrow. None of the streets are paved; all of them are dirt. Do you know why? Concrete streets like we have in Knoxville would crack and buckle in the cold environment of Barrow. Can you imagine the size of an Arctic pothole in the streets of Barrow?

In driving around town, we saw several interesting signs and paintings. These appear all around town; some are even painted on the sides of buildings. People in Barrow are proud of their town and emphasize that by putting colorful signs where people can easily see them. I like the one of the walrus; there are others of whales, seals, and polar bears. I still have not seen, however, a polar bear.
We also stopped along side the Arctic ocean. The water is cold and only the hardiest of animals can live there. Our group stood in the water for a few minutes. I have been to the coast in South Carolina and Florida, this is quite different. No one ever goes swimming in the Arctic ocean because it is just too cold. When you stand on the beach of the Arctic Ocean, the North Pole is still more than a thousand miles north. We live on a very, very big planet!
I will talk to you again tomorrow. I hope you are ready to hear about the local football team; the Whalers. I will also try to find a few surprises for you as well! Study hard and stay tuned...