This is my last journal entry from Fairbanks, Alaska. Here are a few memories of my trip. Soon I will be back in the classrooms teaching Ice, Ice, Baby. In a few short months, I will be off to Greenland!
This was the first of many surprises for me in Fairbanks. Never in my life have I seen poles with electrical outlets in a parking lot! When you park your car, you plug your car into an electrical outlet. Alaska cars are sold with heaters in their engine blocks, batteries and oil pans because it gets so cold here. Some people even have battery blankets!
The dry, beautiful snow was everywhere in this town. We use sand or salt for traction on Kansas snow. They use gravel! Some homes had snow up to their windows and narrow paths to get in their doors. Parking lots had piles of snow that looked like mountains.
Our team of PolarTREC teachers traveled in a "time machine"! We put on hard hats and went underground in a tunnel of permafrost that was 40,000 years old. This frozen dirt contained mammoth bones, bison horns, grasses, and roots in its walls. Even though it can be 90 degrees in the summer in Fairbanks, the winters are so cold that this ground remains frozen. If the ground remains frozen for 2 years (even in the summer), it is called permafrost.
Did you know some parts of the Alaskan oil pipeline are above ground? The 800-mile-long pipe is one of the largest pipeline systems in the world. The large pipe rests in a metal saddle with "shoe slides". These slides allow the giant pipe to move a few inches when the ground moves due to an earthquake or a permafrost thaw.
It's time to go home! I've enjoyed learning how people live in Alaska's cold climate. Next time I visit I'd like to come in the summer when all Alaskans say it is beautiful and a lot warmer!