On this date in 1867, the then territory of Alaska was transferred to the United States from the Russian Empire.
The Alaska Territorial Legislature made it a state holiday in 1917.
The official celebration in the state takes place in Sitka, which was the capital of the territory during Russian occupation. Sitka was the location of the official transfer, and Fort Sitka was the site of the flag lowering and raising ceremony.
There is an 11 hour time difference between Sitka, Alaska and St Petersburg, Russia.
Bear 128, also known as Grazer, has won the Fattest Bear crown in Katmai National Park’s annual online contest.
Grazer beat out a very large Chunk in the title round.
Grazer made her first appearance at Brooks Falls as a cub in 2005, and has since grown into a force that even the large male bears will attempt to avoid. Grazer has developed a reputation as a fierce mother, and will launch a preemptive attack against even large males to protect her cubs. A fan favorite on the Bear Cam, Grazer is easily identified by her very blonde, round ears. Grazer has successfully raised two litters of cubs, but this year she was an empty-nester and having to only fend for herself led to a hefty weight gain. Comparing the image from July to that in September, makes you wonder just how many salmon that bear ate.
This is the first Fat Bear Title for Grazer. A record number of votes, 1,382,783 were tallied in this year’s Fat Bear Week.
Fat Bear Week returns to Katmai and Brooks Falls. The bears have all done their part to get as round as possible before hibernation. Snow fell in Fairbanks on Tuesday, so winter is just around the corner.
Voting starts today. Just jump on the link below to portal over to explore.org. There you can vote for your favorite chubby bruin, if you are so inclined.
A cold front has moved into Interior Alaska, bringing a full day of rain on Sunday and cool temps on Monday. The soggy Sunday even drove me to light a fire in the wood stove. At 41F degrees, Fairbanks won’t even hit half of where San Antonio will be.
I’m not complaining, but I’m also not ready for that four letter word that starts with an ‘s’.
Since 2011, outburst floods from the glacial-dammed lake at Suicide Basin have been released into Mendenhall Lake and subsequently the Mendenhall River. The record setting flood of 2016 was at 11.99 feet. Flood stage is at 9′.
That record was broken this weekend, when the flood waters burst from Suicide Basin. The water level crested at 14.97 feet. Several homes along the river had the bank cut out from under them, with at least one collapsing into the rushing current.
It was estimated that water was flowing at 20,900 cubic feet per second down the Mendenhall River.
Otis returned to Brooks Falls in Katmai on Wednesday. It was the first time he had been seen since last autumn. Otis, the Bear Cam favorite, is believed to be 27 years old. A winner of 4 Fat Bear titles, Otis last won two seasons ago.
Otis is arguably the most skilled fisher-bear in Katmai. His technique is effortless, and he wastes no energy as the old bruin fattens up for another hibernation.
Welcome back Otis. Your fan club has been waiting for you.
We have had a lot of volcanic activity in Alaska this year. We currently have six volcanos at an elevated alert level of either Code Yellow or Code Orange.
None are more intriguing to me than the newest member of Code Yellow: Trident Volcano in Katmai National Park. Trident is a member of what is known as The Katmai Cluster. In addition to Trident, the cluster includes Mount Katmai, Mount Mageik, Mount Martin and Novarupta.
Trident has seen an increase in activity the past year, but since May, the earthquake frequency underneath the volcano has gone up considerably. Add that to the ground uptick at Trident, and you have the signs of moving magma. Katmai, Mageik and Martin have all seen an increase in seismic activity recently, as well.
Trident was last active between 1953-1974, when it went quiet. The eruptions of ’53 and ’74 formed new vents, which means it could be difficult to pinpoint exactly where an eruption could come from.
On June 6, 1912, the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century exploded out of the Katmai Cluster. For years, it was assumed that Mount Katmai was the culprit. It wasn’t until 1953 that Novarupta was determined to be the source. The majority of the magma was lying beneath Mount Katmai, but when the cluster erupted, the explosion came out of Novarupta, which is 6.5 miles away. Mount Katmai then collapsed into itself. Trident Volcano stands just 3 miles from Novarupta.
The amount of magma expelled from Novarupta was 30 times that of Mount St Helens. The devastation of the eruption formed the valley we now know as The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
Mount Shishaldin on Unimak Island has been restless for a while. A USCG plane flying by noticed molten lava at the crater last week. Finally, on Friday the volcano erupted with a plume of ash that reached 15,000 feet. By Saturday evening, the eruption had earned a Level Red Warning, which had returned to Orange by Sunday night.
I have not heard of a major disruption to air traffic yet.
Great Sitkin, further out on the Aleutian Chain is also at Warning Level Orange.
Late on Saturday night, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded 55 miles southwest of Sand Point, Alaska. That triggered a Tsunami Warning from NOAA and the NWS for early Sunday morning. Luckily, waves of only 6″ high were reported, and the warning was cancelled long before I even woke up in the Interior of Alaska.
By Sunday evening, the Alaska Earthquake Center had recorded roughly two dozen aftershocks from the M7.2 quake, the largest at M5.7.
Not to be left out, the city of Anchorage had a gang of emus on the loose. No word on where the emus escaped from. At one point, they were reportedly spotted near the Campbell Airstrip, which I can say from experience, is a great place to start a hike. I also read through the comments on the post, and I must say that not one was remotely helpful on catching a runaway emu.