Paleontology Mary Dawson Return Home
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During the short Arctic summer the sound of running water can be heard everywhere. Meltwater rushes in cascades down the sides of glaciers and into rivers that also carry water from the melting of snow to the fiords. Ice melts in the upper layers of the tundra, moving the soil and rocks and forming characteristic polygonal shapes. Mud slides frequently can be seen, moving slowly down slopes. This can make travel unexpectedly dangerous:

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"We quickly learned that Arctic rivers have their own behavior. In the morning it might be relatively simple to wade carefully across but in the late afternoon the same passage could be impossible. This is because of the greater amount of snow melt during the day, when the sun rises somewhat higher in the sky, raising the river level . . ."

Photo: An aerial view of a river on
Ellesmere Island in 1979.

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