Geysers in Alaska?

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 12:14:18 01/29/16

We experienced a 7.1 earthquake at 1:30 a.m. last Sunday morning. It was the strongest quake I've ever experienced, lasted about 25-30 seconds, knocked small items over or off shelves, and repositioned all sorts of wall hangings. While I had the "luxury" of experiencing the strong shaking from the comfort of a bed in a warm house, others were out mushing with their dog sled teams. Some were participating in the Northern Lights 300, one of many intermediate length warm-up races for the much bigger events, like the Yukon Quest or the Iditarod. Other mushers in other areas shared in the mayhem. The linked story from the Alaska Dispatch News tells of mushers and their dogs following a course down a frozen river, when the quake occurred. Suddenly, the ice was rocking and rolling. Water and mud was being ejected skyward, in the dark, a product of the intense pressure exerted by the ice movement.

Stage setting is important to engendering as accurate a perception as possible of what it must have been like out there. Remember, these mushers are spread out over a 300 mile out and back course that, as far as I know, does not go through any towns or villages after it begins/ends at Big Lake. At 1:30 a.m. in January, you are in the dark, and have been for at least 8 hours, and have another 7 hours of darkness remaining. Your only light source is your headlamp, unless you have the benefit of moonlight and all the beneficial reflection that a wintry environment produces. Not knowing what the cloud conditions were up north that evening, I don't know if the moon was a viable light source. The soundtrack would have to be intimidating. I know how much noise I was hearing, primarily a result of the forces being exerted upon my house. I can't imagine what the staccato bursts of cracking and popping of thick river ice giving way would have sounded like. Way spooky!!


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