Think about this and share your ideas with others:
Is more snow pack good or bad for the Arctic? (or survey a group of students and graph your results)
As we were walking on rocks by Hudson Bay, Dr. Kershaw pointed out scratches in the rocks that were caused by glaciers that covered this area 8,000-9,000 years ago. As the glaciers melted the ground rebounded in a movement called isostatic rebound. When we were coring into the permafrost today with a hand drill we brought up marine animals that were about 1400 years old (and we were about 15 km from shore).
When water freezes it expands. When that ice wedges into the ground it can cause different types of land forms (such as my favorite to say really fast: polygon peat plateaus and palsas). In the winter sea ice on Hudson Bay can get over 2 meters thick and tides pay a role in breaking the ice into pressure ridges that can crack and stick up 10-12 meters high. Ice often stays on the bay until late June.
At the Churchill Northern Studies center the wind blows a lot you can see that snow packs are an important part of the ecosystem. Other Earthwatch groups come here during the winter and do research on the snow pack. They will also have blogs that will be fun to follow
PS: We saw the Northern Lights last night! They were spectacular...a huge swath across the whole sky, slowly swirling and awe inspiring. Now it's time for our last day in the field...on goes the mud boots & bug nets, shovels in hand!
Labels: Glaciers, Northern Lights, Snow