Fireweed is the territorial flower of Yukon, and very pretty to look at. The Yukon boreal landscape is shaped by fire, and fireweed is the first to re-colonise after the forests are reduced to ashes.
Gerard found this cute little rodent skull at a peatland on the Dempster Highway, then affectionately named him Clarence.
One of many retrogressive thaw slumps found along the Dempster Highway, this one near Eagle Plains, central Yukon (2014 fieldseason)
Diamond-tipped core barrel cutting into permafrost in a peat plateau along the Dempster Highway, Yukon.
The Sheep Creek tephra Klondike (deposited ca. 80 ka BP) is a regionally important stratigraphic marker bed in the Klondike Goldfields, as seen in this photo from Lower Quartz Creek. Can you spot it? (2013 fieldseason, photo by T. Porter).
Dawson City from Midnight Dome. Dawson City is at the confluence of the Klondike River (left) and Yukon River (right). The Yukon has a much higher dissolved sediment load (and density), and doesn’t mix immediately with the Klondike. (2015, photo by T. Porter)
Quartz Creek is a classic placer mining site in the Klondike Goldfields hosting massive bedded loess deposits infused with relict ice-rich permafrost and a fossil record detailing ecosystem changes in Beringian flora and megafauna (e.g., mammoth) through the Wisconsinan glaciation, ending ca. 18,000 years ago.
Peat plateau, Dempster Highway, Yukon
The White River Ash is a 1200 year old volcanic ash deposit originating from Bona-Churchill Massif volcano in the Wrangell Mountains, S.E. Alaska. It is a regionally important marker bed for sedimentary records in the lower third of Yukon Territory, and is exposed along many kilometers of road cut heading north on the Klondike Highway from Whitehorse. However, the smallest shards of glass from this eruption traveled high in the atmosphere across North America and the Atlantic, via the Westerlies, and have been found in the Greenland ice cores and peatbogs in N. Europe.
Braided stretch of river near the Tombstone lookout, Dempster Highway (2015, photo by T. Porter)
Coring permafrost in a drained thermokarst basin, Old Crow Basin. (left to right) John the pilot, Joel Pumple, and Sydney Clackett (2015, photo by T. Porter).
Fieldwork in a drained thermokarst lake basin site, Old Crow Basin, N. Yukon (2015, photo by T. Porter).
From the helicopter. A momma moose teaching her two calves how to navigate the lake rich Bluefish Basin near Old Crow, N. Yukon (2015, photo by T. Porter).
A peat plateau on the Dempster Highway, standing pools with bright green algal mats, and a spectacular backdrop featuring the boreal forest (2015, photo by T. Porter)
A sand-blasted, sun-bleached snag on Campbell Dolomite Uplands, Mackenzie Delta region. Dead trees at this site are exposed to the elements for centuries before they fall to the ground and eventually disintegrate (2013, photo by T. Porter)
Collecting 12 mm tree cores (a.k.a. the Cubans) from white spruce trees on Campbell Dolomite Uplands with (left to right) Mike Pisaric and Sarah Quann. Using these 12 mm borers is exhausting work, which is exactly why I am the photographer (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2013).
Pingos near the Arctic Coast, Tuktoyaktuk, NWT (2013, photo by S. Quann).
A partial trunk of a mid-Holocene spruce tree (4,200 14C years BP) found in the littoral zone of a lake far north of boreal treeline, near Tuktoyaktuk, NWT. During the Holocene Thermal Maximum, ~9-11 ka BP in this part of the world, treeline reached the Arctic Coast (Photo by M. Pisaric, 2013).
Arctic ground squirrel nest in frozen muck at Quartz Creek (ca. 25 ka BP). These nests are diagnostic of steppe tundra conditions, which allowed some large, grazing megafauna to thrive during the Last Glacial Maximum, including Mammuthus and Equus (2013, photo by S. Bandara).
In the Klondike, placer miners use these water canons to melt frozen ‘mucks’ (loess) that overlay the gold-bearing gravels. The mucks contain a rich paleoclimate and fossil record for the Late Pleistocene (2013, photo by T. Porter).
Sasiri Bandara with a peaty permafrost core in Yukon (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2013).
Pete deMontigny (6′) next to this 500 year old white spruce tree at PC1 site (Porter et al., 2013, Quat. Res.) in the Mackenzie Delta, NWT (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2008).
Ice wedge complex at Quartz Creek (2013, photo by T. Porter).
Beringian fossils (Bison and Equus) from Upper and Lower Quartz Creek, Klondike, Yukon (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2013).
Tree-ring sampling on the Porcupine River, northern Yukon (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2008).
Mosquitos!!! Just one of the many perks of working in the North. Photo was taken on an epic Canada Day weekend journey with Greg King from Inuvik to Dawson City via the Dempster Highway (2007, photo by G. King).
The white spruce boreal wilderness that defines so much of northern Canada, near Whitehorse, Yukon (2005, photo by T. Porter).
There’s just something about the meanders of the Old Crow River that captivates me (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2008).
Goldensides Trail in Tombstone Territorial Park, central Yukon (Photo by G. King, 2007).
Tombstone Mountain lookout, Dempster Highway, with (left to right) Trevor Porter, Jonny Vandewint and Sydney Clackett (2015, tripod photo by T. Porter).
Found this old rusty iron safe behind the decommissioned Gold Room at the Bear Creek site, KIondike (2015, photo by T. Porter)
Bear Creek tree coring with Sydney Clackett and Jonny Vandewint (2015, photo by T. Porter).
Old Crow thermokarst coring team 2015: (left to right) Kasia Staniszewska, John the pilot, Sasiri Bandara, Sydney Clackett, Jonny Vandewint, Joel Pumple and Trevor Porter (2015, tripod photo by T. Porter).
Bonanza Creek, Klondike Goldfields, from the Midnight Dome at Dawson City (2015, photo by T. Porter)
I’ve passed this lake (64° 34.756’N, 138° 17.693’W) five or so times over the years I’ve driven the Dempster Highway, and always think about coring it. Must do that someday. (2015, photo by T. Porter)
Tombstone Mountain, way over yonder, from the Dempster Highway lookout, central Yukon (Photo by T.J. Porter, 2013).
Lakes and anastomosing channels of the Mackenzie Delta, NWT (Photo by P. deMontigny, 2008).
Taking on new projects is always fun. In the 2017 field season my team and I went to the Arctic coast, outer Mackenzie Delta, to sample ice wedges. Ice wedges offer a unique archive for winter precipitation, and the hydrogen or oxygen isotopic composition of this water can be used to estimate past winter temperatures.
The 2015 fieldseason was simply awesome, for the science, the sites and the great team I had to work with. We focused our efforts on tree coring and permafrost coring in central and northern Yukon. This video gives you a sample of what we accomplished. Enjoy.