30 March 2007

This was day 15 on the trail for SnowSTAR. You might remember that yesterday was one of their tough travel days where they only made 50 kilometers. Today was their best travel day so far, traveling more than 200 kilometers. Team leader Matthew Sturm sent the following soundclip and dispatch describing today's activities:

Click Here for Tonight's Soundclip from Matthew


Dispatch, March 30, 2007:  Little Chicago on the Mackenzie River, Northwest

Camp 15 Location: 67º 10'N,  130º 14'W

208 km covered today

Sunny, -4ºF (-20ºC); overnight low -10ºF (-23ºF)


What is the biggest river you have ever seen?  So far we have been on the
Chena River, Birch Creek, the Yukon River, the Porcupine River, the Bell
River, La Chute River, Stony Creek, the Peel River, and the Arctic Red
River.  Add them all together, and they still would not equal the Mackenzie
River.  This river is huge.  It is 2 to 3 km across (that's almost 2 miles
wide in places). It is the biggest river most of us on the trip have ever
seen. All day we snowmachined up river, a full 200 km (120 miles) on this
great northern river. It is so vast, that when we were on the south side of
the river, the north side was so far away the trees on that side were hard
to see.  The river is a tremendous avenue for commerce. Tugs move large
barges packed with materials and supplies up and down the river all summer.
Despite the fact that hardly anyone lives on the river between Tsiigehtchic
(Arctic Red River) and Ft. Good Hope, the river is lined with navigational
beacons.   The river was first mapped by Alexander MacKenzie in 1789.  The
Hudson Bay Company had trading posts along the river by about 1820.

Catching Up

Yesterday we taught at the Chief Julius School in Ft. McPherson.  The school
assembled in two groups:  K through 6 first, then 7 through 12 next.  Dan
demonstrated waves and resonance for the kids using a burner and some sewer
pipe, and then using a slinky.  All the kids had fun, then they came out and
checked out our sleds.  A picture of the older kids at the school is
attached, as well as a picture of Dan teaching. 

A hearty thanks to Mr. Sam Chaulk and all the kids and teachers at the school, and for putting us up.
Also a thank you to the RCMP at Ft. McPherson, especially Const. Jason
Muzzerall and Sgt. Merle Carpenter, for allowing us to store our gear in the
RCMP compound.  For non-Canadian readers, the RCMP is the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, an outfit with fabulous history of keeping the peace in the

This morning we also taught at the Chief Paul Niditchie School in
Tsiigehtchic.  We took Ms. Yvonne McQuaid's 3rd through 6th grade class out
and looked at snow crystals.  A picture of her class is attached.   Thanks
to the folks in Tsiigehtchic for putting us up.

KIDS, here is aMath Problem:

Can you estimate the amount of water that flows down the Mackenzie?  Here is
a way to do that:

If the river channel is 1500 m wide, and averages 15 m deep, and flows 8000
m/hr, you can multiple all these together to get an approximate flow.  Now
when the Mackenzie floods, it can be much deeper.We saw flood strandlines a
good 20 m higher than the river ice.  So redo the problem using the greater
height (15 + 20 =35 m deep).



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