A photo from the Leonid Kulik expedition to the Tunguska region of Russia in 1929. A meteorite or comet knocked down millions of trees in one of the largest space-object-meets-Earth events in recorded history. Credit: Leonid Kulik Expedition, St. Petersburg Museum.
Ned Rozell

In 1908, a colossal blast incinerated a swath of wilderness deep in Siberia, at about the same latitude as Anchorage.

The explosion that July day registered on seismic recorders all over the world. Within minutes, 80 million trees lay flat and scorched in a circle 60 miles wide. Scientists calculated the shock was more than 1,000 times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

What happened? That’s a great question. Nineteen years after the event and 91 years ago, Leonid Kulik, curator for the meteorite collection at the St. Petersburg Museum, traveled to the Stony Tunguska River to find out. From the distant evidence, he expected to see a crater where a meteorite crashed into Earth.

Sue Mitchell

An international team including a researcher from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute has discovered a 31-kilometer-wide meteorite impact crater buried beneath northern Greenland’s ice sheet.

This is the first time that a crater of any size has been found under one of Earth’s continental ice sheets. The impact crater is among the 25 largest yet found on Earth.

Mark Fahnestock, a UAF research professor, worked with colleagues at NASA and the Natural History Museum of Denmark to verify the discovery, initially made in 2015. The research is described in a new study published in the internationally recognized journal Science Advances.

Overlooking the Reichardt lobby with Mike Whalen, professor of geosciences and wine connoisseur. In addition to traditional geosciences courses, Mike teaches a 2-credit course called “The Geology of Wine.” Photo by Kelly Eagan.

By Kelly Eagan

“Wine is something I got interested in as a grad student. These days one of my favorites is an Italian wine called ‘Brunello di Montalcino,’ which is a specific Sangiovese clone grown in this little town called Montalcino, an ancient walled city in Italy that's just this gorgeous little place with some of the most amazing wine in the world. It always fascinated me, getting into the nuances of different wines and where their flavors originate from, and why you get such a wide variety of tastes and flavors and smells. It's something I may look to do in retirement, getting into consulting in that kind of field. There's a lot of geologic information in there, dealing with soils and things like that that you can apply your expertise to.”

Overlooking the Reichardt lobby with Mike Whalen, professor of geosciences and wine connoisseur. In addition to traditional geosciences courses, Mike teaches a 2-credit course called “The Geology of Wine.”

A viewing party is scheduled for 10 a.m. – noon, Monday, Nov. 26, at the UAF Vis Space, 010 WRRB, to watch live streaming of the landing on Mars of NASA's InSight mission.

The InSight mission is set to touch down at around noon Pacific (11 a.m. Alaska). The lander will plunge through the thin Martian atmosphere, heatshield first, and use a parachute to slow down. Then, it will fire its retro rockets to slowly descend to the surface of Mars and land on the smooth plains of Elysium Planitia. This is NASA's first-ever mission to study the heart of Mars. The goal of InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is to study the interior of Mars and take the planet's vital signs — its pulse, and temperature. To look deep into Mars, the lander must be at a place where it can stay still and quiet for its entire mission. That's why scientists chose Elysium Planitia as InSight's home.

NASA's website about the event provides more details about the mission.

The UAF event is listed on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/551627008631552/

This event is sponsored by UAF Research, Alaska EPSCoR and the Geophysical Institute.

For more information contact Fritz Freudenberger at ffreudenberger@alaska.edu or 907-474-7185.

Gals Read is searching for women interested in spending some time encouraging young girls to read. The commitment is limited in scope: only 30 minutes of reading with fourth grade students, twice per week for two weeks per semester.

The group lacks women readers this fall and they are looking for additional help to bring literacy to young girls.

Please contact Gals Read Coordinator Jill Marcotte at marcottejn@gmail.com or 967-322-039) if you are interested in this wonderful volunteer opportunity or if you have any questions.

From GI Director Bob McCoy:

Sunday was Veterans Day – a special Veteran’s Day – the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at that moment.

Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans and provides an opportunity to thank and pay tribute to more than 22 million living veterans. I am exceedingly proud to work alongside the more than 36 veterans who are part of the GI family—men and women who have served in all branches of the military. These men and women who study, teach and work alongside us bring unique perspectives and experience, strengthening the diversity of our university and the greater community.

We are also reminded today of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard our nation, and to protect life and liberty at home and abroad.

There will be a special event, Veterans Appreciation Day, from 1-2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in the Wood Center ballroom, sponsored by the Department of Veterans and Military Students.

To all the GI's veterans and their families– thank you - for your service, sacrifice, and selfless dedication to our country. On this day, and every day, we remember your legacy of duty and honor.

I hope you will join me in honoring our veterans.

Thanksgiving 2017
buffet line in the IARC hallway.

It's time to start planning the GI Thanksgiving Potluck! Lunch is at noon, Thursday Nov. 15, with the buffet line out in the IARC hallway, and seating in the GI Globe room.

Your participation is what makes this gathering a success, so bring your family, bring your favorite dish and bring your cheer! Dig out the recipes you've clipped or your family favorites that you want to share with your co-workers, friends and family.

PLEASE SIGN UP on the google sign up sheet at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PM5goU5x6qdXvUt0-6M4u1uRF5sXMn-NnThe...

The Admin Team takes care of the turkeys and hams. Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and corn are all provided.

What is needed from you is family sized side dishes of vegetables, salads and desserts.

Volunteers are needed for clean-up, please contact Katie at 7615 or Connie at 6643.

Please bring $1 donation to cover paper plates, napkins, etc.

We look forward to sharing this occasion with you!

When preparing research posters for the 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, please make sure you use the right logos. All AGU posters should include the current version of the UAF logo. Wherever possible, please also include the Geophysical Institute logo. Need a specific format, size, color or background that isn’t available online? Design Services will be happy to assist you. Email Design Services at uaf-designservices@alaska.edu.

Submit your poster online at: http://gi.alaska.edu/poster-printing-request
Obtain current GI logos here: http://gi.alaska.edu/design-services/get-gi-logos-and-letterhead
Obtain current UAF logos here (scroll down for downloadable logos): https://uaf.edu/universityrelations/guidelines/logos/

FREE Poster Prints for GI-affiliated Graduate Students:
Each academic year, graduate students affiliated with the Geophysical Institute are eligible for one free poster print (12 sq. ft. maximum) on photo satin paper. If you have not used this benefit, AGU is a great opportunity to cash it in. Note: this benefit does not cover rush fees or for media upgrades. If you have questions, contact Design Services at uaf-designservices@alaska.edu.

The Geophysical Institute will have a strong presence at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Monday - Friday Dec. 10-14 in Washington, D.C.

GI is taking the lead in organizing the UAF exhibit booth at the meeting. This year, it will feature two TV monitors displaying videos and photos from recent field work. We are also creating a vertical banner that requires high-resolution photos that highlight UAF as a leader in Arctic research.

Your photo and media content are welcome to be considered for one or more of these applications. If you wish to share your photos or videos, please drop them in this folder:

Please make sure you create a sub-folder with your name on it, and place your media inside that folder, or drop a text file into the shared folder with a list of the files (by file name) that you provided. This is so you can be contacted for more information if it is needed.

Please encourage your graduate students to apply for funding through Alaska Space Grant Program's Graduate Research Infrastructure Grants.

Graduate Research grants of up to $15,000 (total direct costs) will be awarded through a competitive process. Grants are open to new and continuing students (US citizens only) to support research projects fostering the vision of NASA by encouraging career goals in STEM disciplines, strengthening the nation’s STEM workforce and engaging Americans in NASA’s mission. Students receiving awards in past competitions may apply and receive awards for subsequent competitions. Women, under-represented minorities and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Visit the Alaska Space Grant website here for more information.

Applications are due Saturday, Dec. 1!

Handmade map and books
- Oralee Nudson, from last year's
GI/IARC First Friday. Photo by Tohru Saito.

Please mark your calendar for the GI/IARC December First Friday, Dec. 7. Tohru Saito is organizing a First Friday event in the Akasofu building lobby area.

Please consider displaying your art work and art projects! Similar to last year, contact Tohru Saito if you are interested in participating or if you know anyone who might be interested in displaying art work such as drawings, paintings, photos, cool computer graphics, satellite or drone images, etc. that you have created.

It does not have to be science-related, but if your art has any connections to science that would be great. Two-dimensional or 3D art are welcome, as are craft objects.

The event is very informal, and family members, former employees and visitors are also welcome to participate.

Tohru Saito also proposes a pre-AGU poster session aimed at graduate students and visitors to take place Thursday, Dec. 6 on the fifth floor of the Akasofu building. Others may be invited to participate depending on available poster display boards. This is an opportunity to display your poster before the actual AGU meeting and perhaps function as practice. Posters must be printed prior to hanging, there will not be a printer at the poster session.

Please contact Tohru Saito at tsaito@alaska.edu if you are interested in taking part in the GI/IARC December First Friday event. This year the North Star Strings will be be performing at the event.

A new citizen science app is available from the GLOBE Observer program, called Land Cover — Adopt a Pixel. Participants use their smartphones to take geolocated photos of the landscape and optionally can add in more information.

Launch of the app has received a good response from the public, but more data are needed, especially in these states: North and South Carolina, North and South Dakota, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma and Wyoming

NASA's GLOBE team would love to get observations from more people!

Why Adopt a Pixel is Important for Scientists
The app data are geographically aligned with the pixels in satellite images and provide more details of Earth’s surface than we get from satellites. Scientists are particularly interested in observations that include the more in-depth analysis option in the app (vs. simply taking photos). They plan to use all of this data in combination with satellite data to study Earth’s processes and systems (like the carbon cycle, nutrient cycling, climate change, etc.) and topics such as forest ecology, fire, urban growth, farming practices, invasive species, grassland restoration — pretty much anything that relies on accurate data about what is covering the surface of our Earth.

What’s In It for Visitors and Interpreters?
I’m sure you are aware that citizen science provides a powerful opportunity for visitors to connect with and learn about the environment. And there is evidence that participation in citizen science helps people become more involved in environmental stewardship.

What’s cool about GLOBE Observer is that we can encourage people to make observations wherever they are — on a trail, on vacation, in their towns, etc. and then help them to consider how all of these places are connected. For example, historical sites can challenge people to make observations and then think about how the historical landscape affected the way people lived, changes to the land and how that impacts life today. Then visitors can be prompted to think about how decisions are made about land use today and consider making observations in their own community.

The app is free and easy to use and you don’t need to be connected to the internet while collecting data. You can get the app from Google Play or the App Store — search for “GLOBE Observer.” Once you download the app, register. Then open the Land Cover module — an interactive tutorial that will teach you how to make observations. (If you already have the GLOBE Observer app you can access the new Land Cover module directly.)

We know that when people contribute observations to citizen science projects they get a positive sense of making a difference. It’s a great example of the multiplier effect of individual efforts when thousands of individual observations add up to a clearer understanding of how our planet works.
Thanks for considering contributing to this citizen science effort, and for all you do to advance stewardship of Earth!

The University of Delaware will be hosting an innovative workshop about polar science research communication to the media called Polar-izing Your Science Impacts: Turn your Research into Science Stories and Take Science Stories to the Classroom.

Only 40 scientists will be selected for participation in this project. A $300 stipend is available for scientists who develop a science communication piece for the Polar Literacy Initiative. Limited travel funds/scholarships are available for advanced graduate students. The workshop will run Wednesday – Friday, Jan. 9 – 11 at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del..

Applications will be accepted until Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Please apply online at:


West Ridge Training Series flier.

The calendar has been set for the fall semester. All sessions will take place the second Tuesday of each month, 1 – 2 p.m. in the Globe Room.

Dec. 11: Intro to Video Editing Using Free Software
Presented by Sean Tevebaugh, Videographer, GI Design Services. Topics will include making a timelapse, video presentation and more. Have a need/concern about video making? Bring your questions! The talk will also cover video production software and camera options.

Click the announcement below to view and download a flier listing all of the training sessions.

Would you like to know when all the cool science events are happening at UAF? When you’re putting on a cool science event would you like help getting that information out?

The UAF Science Calendar posts information on science lectures, seminars, workshops, thesis/dissertation defenses, special events and other UAF science-related activities. Submit calendar items by email to UAF-SciCal@alaska.edu. Please include the name of the event, the sponsoring unit, name and affiliation of the presenter, location, date, start and end times, and a contact person's name, email address and/or phone number. Information can be submitted well in advance of the event as long as any changes to the information are also submitted as they become known.

How to subscribe to the Science Calendar

  • Visit http://www.cgc.uaf.edu/calendar.html to view the UAF Science Calendar
  • At the bottom-right corner of the calendar there is a Google Calendar widget (with a white-on-blue 'plus' sign). Click on the link.
  • Your calendar will pop up in your browser, with a prompt to "Add calendar." Click "Add." The UAF Science Calendar should now appear in the list on the left of your calendar labeled "Other calendars."

If you are logged into two Google accounts at once, for example your UA account and your personal account, the UAF Science Calendar may appear in the wrong one. If so, log out of all Google accounts except for the one that you wish to modify, OR log into it in a different browser, and repeat steps 2 and 3.

If you have questions about the science calendar, email UAF-SciCal@alaska.edu.

Please make sure you use the correct GI and UAF logos on all your research posters. You can download the logos at these websites:

Official GI Logo

Official UAF Logos

For assistance with GI and UAF logos, contact Design Services at x7146.

Do you have something you want to advertise?

Do you have something you want to advertise?

If you have something you would like to sell or are looking for, you can advertise in the weekly newsletter for free! We can run your advertisement as long as you would like us to. Just scroll to the bottom of the newsletter and click on "submit an item for the newsletter" or email Sue Mitchell with the details.

If you have something you would like to sell or are looking for, you can advertise in the weekly newsletter for free! We can run your advertisement as long as you would like us to. Just scroll to the bottom of the newsletter and click on "submit an item for the newsletter" or email Sue Mitchell...

Science Event of the Week

Nov 20, 1998

In 1998, the first module of the International Space Station was launched on a Russian Proton rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. This $240 million Zarya functional cargo block was followed two weeks later by the Unity connecting module from the U.S. After 16 years of planning and design, the orbiting station was taking shape, the beginning of what some called "a city in space." The project, initiated by NASA in 1983, also involved Canada, Japan and the 11 members of the European Space Agency. After the Cold War, the Russians had been invited to participate, not merely as an exercise in international cooperation, but also to employ Russian scientists who might have otherwise sold their expertise to renegade countries.