November 2002 Quake Fault Trace Crossing Richardson Highway

Now This Was an Earthquake


On November 3, 2002, just a little after noon, WC was upstairs at his home in Fairbanks, working on his email. Mrs. WC was downstairs doing chores. The whole house gave a very strong, sudden and sharp jerk. There was a pause. And then continuously, for two minutes and 18 seconds, the house thrashed around…

Source: 5/14/20 Barry Arm Landslide Working Group Letter

The Barry Arm Problem


WC has written before about this summer working on the R/V Acona for the University of Alaska’s Institute of Marine Science. One of the research projects involved a trip to Lituya Bay, in the northwestern part of of Southeast Alaska. In 1958, an earthquake and consequent landslide created what was then the largest tsunami –…

Buried and then partially exposed gravel bar, Salmon River Canyon, Idaho

Geology 101: How Conglomerates Happen


A lot of sedimentary rocks are composed of other sedimentary rocks. But no rock is more obviously composed of other rocks than conglomerate.1 Geology’s technical language is both an annoyance and sometimes lovely. The language can be a barrier to understanding. WC’s geology text described conglomerate as A coarse-grained clastic sedimentary rock that is composed…

Kilauea lava flow entering the ocean, January 2003

Nawww


Growing up in Fairbanks, WC’s friend Donnie Ensinger had the annoying habit of listening to you attentively, then scrunching up his face and saying, “Nawww” in a tone that conveyed both skepticism and smart-ass.1 It could be infuriating, but it could also be pretty funny. Memes didn’t exist at the time, but if they had,…

Exotic Terranes of Eastern South-central Alaska; the arriviste is green-colored. A lot of geologists would extend the Yakutat Terrane west to the Ragged Mountain Fault. (Based on NPS Wrangell-St. Elias – A Collage of Terranes)

The Yakutat Terrane: A Geologic Arriviste


Arriviste — someone who is just beginning to arrive, esp. an ambitious or ruthlessly self-seeking person, who has recently acquired wealth or social status. You may think that “arriviste” is a strange term to apply to a geologic terrane, but stay with WC on this and he will explain himself. An exotic terrane is a piece of…