Trees and vegetation grow today in southeast Alaska. But were these areas as fruitful in ancient times? The study explores these questions.
The research will explore if regions of coastal Alaska — lush today with forests and vegetation — could have provided enough natural resources for plants, animals and, possibly, humans to survive during the Ice Age.
When you’re a scientist, it’s not always possible to travel light. Field research can require lots of gear.
From left: Scientists on the expedition included geology master’s student Caleb Walcott, UB RENEW Institute postdoctoral researcher Corey Krabbenhoft, and geology PhD graduate Alia Lesnek.
Corey Krabbenhoft and Caleb Walcott use a loop sensor to measure magnetic properties of a lake sediment core they just extracted from 60 feet below the lake surface.
The scientists encountered many beautiful vistas during their travels. Corey Krabbenhoft and Caleb Walcott watch the sun set from atop Suemez Island, southeast Alaska.
Volcanic deposits exposed in a sea cliff; ash layers and lava flows of young volcanoes on Kruzof Island are an important part of the geology and ice age history in southeast Alaska.
The town of Sitka and Sitka Sound on the western coastline of Baranof Island, southeast Alaska. Ice Age glaciers flowed through Sitka Sound as late as 15,000 years ago, but how far west they reached is not currently known, and is one of the topics being addressed.
Pillow lava structures found at present-day sea level. These structures form when lava enters the ocean. The significance of this finding in southeast Alaska, where sea level oscillates by more than 400 feet in recent geologic history, is that when this lava was erupted, sea level was at about the same level as it is today.
Caleb Walcott collects a sample. Chemical analysis of such specimens can help pinpoint when glaciers receded from a region. While geologists analyze rocks, Charlotte Lindqvist will lead efforts to analyze DNA preserved in the fossil bones of animals that lived in the region long ago. These analyses will provide insight into whether southeast Alaska could have served as an Ice Age refuge for plant and animal life.
Published July 30, 2019