Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Follow Islands of the Four Mountains fieldwork in real time

An aerial photo of the Islands of the Four Mountains. Photo: Ken Wilson, author of “The Aleutian Islands of AK: Living on the Edge”

An aerial photo of the Islands of the Four Mountains. Photo: Ken Wilson, author of “The Aleutian Islands of AK: Living on the Edge”

This spring we told you about the fascinating research project of Dixie West and Virginia Hatfield (Kansas University), Kirsten Nicolaysen (Whitman College) and Breanyn MacInnes (Central Washington University) in Alaska’s central Aleutians, one of the most inhospitable environments a person could imagine.

Their research in the “Islands of the Four Mountains” is currently underway, and since it’s virtually impossible for most of us to actually accompany these intrepid researchers, they’re bringing their work to us.

Their Facebook Page is being updated in real time, so you can read about their research vessel, view pictures of life in the field, and more.

If Twitter is more your speed, follow the team here.

Why should you follow them?

This aerial view shows theIslands of the Four Mountains. Photo: NASA

This aerial view shows the Islands of the Four Mountains. Photo: NASA

In addition to being tough as nails and super smart, these scientists are probing for some very interesting information. Specifically, they’re looking for connections among geological, ecological, and human systems in the Islands of the Four Mountains. This area contains some of the world’s most active volcanoes, and the data they contain could shed insight on prehistoric human risk management and adaptations to “geological instability” which entails climate change, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, sea level change, and more.

The Islands of the Four Mountains is so challenging to reach that very little data exists about the region.  —Rachel Walker