Monday, February 16, 2009

International Research Opportunities

Being at UAF, it's easy to be inspired. I was reading today that one of our professors, Dr. Katey Walter, was just named one of National Geographic’s ten Emerging Explorers for 2009. You can read National Geographic's profile of her on their website. Katie conducts her research in Alaska and Russia, studying methane released from thawing permafrost. Katie did her Ph.D. at UAF, and at the time, her dissertation received the nation's highest honor. Katie's research demonstrates the important role that UAF plays in addressing circumpolar issues that ultimately impact the entire world.

Update: Here's an LA Times story about Dr. Katey Walter that ran after my initial post. The story includes the following video.

By the way, if your interested in joining in on research in remote places in Alaska and Russia, Dr. Pavel Izbekov of UAF, and former UAF professor, John Eichelberger of the Volcano Hazards Program, USGS, will be leading two trips as part of UAF Summer Sessions to study volcanoes in Katmai National Park, in southwest Alaska, and on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. The International Volcanological Field School is held every year and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students alike. I've included some photos below from my trip to Kamchatka in the summer of 2006 to help my wife, Anastasia, gather samples for her research. They're from the same areas that the Field School takes place.

Mutnovsky Volcano on a clear August day. Mutnovsky is one of the volcanoes students explore as part of the International Volcanological Field School.

The whole region is dominated by active volcanoes, making for dramatic views and intense back-country hiking.

As part of my duties as Anastasia's research assistant, I helped gather water samples from geothermal springs and glacial runoff.

Despite it's remote location, and potential hazards, scores of extreme adventurers from around Russian and the world make their way up treacherous path to Mutnosky's crater every year.

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