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17 January, 2002

Weather Cloudy
High 25
Low 10

Dr. Martin Jeffries, Lynette (interpreter), and I drove out to Poker Flats to collect some snow samples and measurements for snow depth, surface temperature, and base temperature from 11 ponds. For each pond, we drilled three areas to measure ice thickness.

The Science Behind Ice Thickness

Imagine a small pond, the size of 1 to 2 city blocks, can accumulate downward ice of 2 to 3 feet. According to Fairbanks residents, this is one of the warmest winters ever. There is very little snow, therefore ice thickness is expected to increase.

The drive back to town.

During the 45-minute drive home from the country after this long day, we passed a chain of remains from gold dredges. Gold dredging, using vessels as large as 90 feet long is an old method of finding gold, leaving miles of rock debris behind. Currently, there are several gold mines where people can pan for gold. The growth of Fairbanks continues to depend on gold as one of their economical resources.

Historical Information on Gold in Fairbanks

1. Gas bubbles caught under congelation ice. (I'm sure some of you are wondering why there is a glove on the corner. This scaling method is used to provide a better understanding of the object's actual size.)

2. The purpose of drilling is to determine the ice thickness.

3. Lynette Reep (interpreter) gives drilling a try.

4. Upward water flow is called a negative freeboard.

5. Lynette measures the depth from the surface of the ice to the surface of the water.

6. Ice is approximately 60 cm thick.

7. Believe it or not, it's noon. The sun barely rises over the horizon at this time of year.

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