The science party for the second leg has arrived in Alaska! Before we headed to our port (in Seward, AK), we were fortunate to be given a few tours related to the hazards of Alaska.
In the morning, Peter Haeussler from the USGS Alaska branch (alaska.usgs.gov) took us to Earthquake Park located in western Anchorage. The park is the site of a major landslide that occurred during the 1964 Alaska earthquake (hence its name).
Prior to the magnitude 9.2 Alaska earthquake, the area was called Turnagain Heights and was considered an up-and-coming neighborhood. The lateral landslide caused the neighborhood to move out over 600 m towards the bay, destroying 75 homes along the way.
The neighborhood has since been turned into a park where there is still some evidence of the landslide event, although the destroyed homes had been removed. One area we could see this evidence was a soil horizon exposed on one of the rotated blocks (below). This horizon tilts towards the bay.
Then we headed to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO – avo.alaska.edu). Scientists Matt Haney and Peter Haeussler taught us about the chain of over 80 volcanoes being monitored remotely by the AVO. Using seismometers, satellites, and commercial pilot reports, the crew of about 20 staff scientists provide reports to local communities, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Oceananic and Atmospheric Administration, and others. Complete with a wall of monitors and a big red phone, our science crew even got to go inside the operations room.
After that we headed for the bus to Seward. Next stop, the R/V Sikuliaq!
– Amanda Price & Tiegan Hobbs