Dr. Jim Beget
Dr. Doug Christensen
Dr. Catherine Hanks
Dr. Mary Keskinin
Dr. Ken Severin, Director Emeritus
Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory
B.S. Geology, California Institute of Technology, 1978
Ph. D. Geology (Micropaleontology) University of California Davis, 1982
A.A.S. Aviation Maintenance Technology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2001
Retirement from the administrative tasks of the Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory has allowed Dr. Severin to develop the first (and maybe only) online course, where students learn about the theory and practice of x-ray spectroscopy, including the remote operation of AIL’s electron microprobe and x-ray fluorescence spectrometer. He continues to introduce students (and others) to scanning electron microscopy, including developing techniques for in situ analysis of difficult samples such as ice.
While Dr. Severin still consults with a variety of users on the capabilities and appropriate use of AIL’s analytical capabilities, their needs must fit around the joys and pitfalls of off the grid living at Photon Farms and working with a wonderful bunch of sled dogs.
Dr. David Stone, Professor Emeritus
Department of Geology & Geophysics
Ph.D. 1963, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne: Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, Geotectonics, Terrane Analysis
350 Reichardt Building
Since Dr. Stone retired he has focused on re-measuring and reinterpreting some of the major paleomagnetic data sets, using the much better instrumentation available now than was available at the start. The backlog of data collected over 31 years of active research programs also contains interesting nuggets of information that are begging to be interpreted.
Since his group published the first (1972) quantitative (paleomagnetic) data indicating that Southern Alaska had migrated from far to the south. This was before the Terrane concept had been formalized. His interest remains in looking at how the North Pacific rim developed over time. This has now grown to encompass how the Arctic Ocean Basins and surrounding geology developed. The available paleomagnetic data for the whole Arctic region are sparse but improving with time, including input from new measurements produced in cooperation with Russian geologists.
Other paleomagnetic interests that are still being explored include studies of the Secular Variation and reverals of the Geomagnetic Field over time scales of a few thousand to several million years. For these we use sequences of lava flows and Loess deposits (windblown deposits).
In addition to paleomagnetism and geo-tectonics Dr. Stone is involved in studies of how animals navigate. Many theories involve the use of the earth’s magnetic field, but recent studies indicate that they can only use the earth’s magnetic field as a very crude reference when all other navigational aids fail. Much like human navigators who used compasses to dead reckon when more positive clues as to their locations failed.
One other interest is searching for the remains of an historic aircraft that may have crashed near Point Oliktok on the Arctic coast of Alaska. In 1937 Captain Levanevski and his crew set off on a good will flight in a 4-engined converted bomber from Moscow to Washington DC over the North Pole. They set off enroute to Fairbanks and crossed over the pole. About 3 hours later they radioed that they had an engine problem and wing ice. Their route would have taken them very close to point Oliktok. No sign of them has been found but there are a number of indications that they may have crashed near Oliktok so Dr. Stone is involved in the search using magnetometers to locate the engines and other magnetic debris. No clear signal yet!
Dr. Donald Triplehorn, Professor Emeritus
Department of Geology & Geophysics
Ph.D. 1961, University of Illinois
Sedimentology, Coal Geology, Ash Partings in Coal, Clay Mineralogy
371 Reichardt Building
Clastic sedimentology is Dr. Triplehorn's major area of emphasis. His past research has focused on clay mineralogy, fluvial sediments, glauconite, diagenesis and shale petrology. In recent years his focus has been on volcanic ash partings in coals; these have opened a surprising variety of new avenues of research. Coal-bearing strata in Alaska, Washington, and throughout the Rocky Mountain states have been dated by K-Ar and fission-track methods. Criteria have been developed for recognition of volcanic ash partings; with these criteria their abundance has been found to be much greater than previously suspected. New occurrences of relatively rare aluminum phosphate minerals have also been found in many ash partings in Alaska as well as a few localities in Colorado and Kentucky. Ash partings can provide a stratigraphic framework that permits the interpretation of the development of coal-producing environments through time as well as detailed coal correlations and rates of sedimentation. Because both coal formation and volcanism were common and widespread here during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, Alaska may be one of the best places in the world to pursue these studies. In the late 1980's, emphasis shifted from volcanic ash partings to the similar fall-out material from the end-of-Cretaceous meteor impact. This work has been with the U.S.G.S. personnel in Denver and has resulted in the discovery of shock-metamorphosed quartz and two new localities.