My first stop was the resources of books I have on Alaska Native writers and storytellers. The only one I could find was a small story written from the 1800's that explained the formation of the Kozzocac Mountains of the Yukon River Delta. The story is entitled Super Cockroach Tale and follows a Native hunter that sees in the distance a mountain that appears to move towards him as he observes it for a few days. He becomes curious and decides to check it out for himself. He notices others at the base of this moving mountain and learns that a shaman has taken it upon himself to learn why it is moving. The shaman explains that a very large cockroach (indigenous to Alaska?), had carried it from up the Yukon. They were once very large but because of the size of their load, the cockroaches today are small. The Kozzovac mountains are the only landmarks down on the Yukon flats.Alaska Quarterly Review Vol. 4 No 3&4 Tim Afcan, Sr. The only mountain I could find that resembles this is Asaacaraq. The first landmark one can see as you travel of the Yukon. I could be wrong and further research by someone else would be helpful.
Another story I found in an invaluable Time Life volume on Earthquakes that tells the story of Lituya Bay in Southeastern Alaska. The Tlingit Indians of the area have hunted in the bay for generations but knew it as a deathtrap as well. According to the legend, a demon frog like monster lives in the depths of the bay and when it becomes jealous of newcomers to the area will unleash a wave of epic proportions to capture those strangers and change them into bears. Modern analysis of the these waves have concluded that the bay lies along a major fault that lies under mouth of Lituya Bay. Major earthquakes can topple large amounts of debris from the surrounding mountains and these landslides into the water displace large amounts of water resulting in enormous waves that have reached up to 3000 feet. A website, http://www.drgeorgepc.com/Tsunami1958LituyaB.html documents these large waves and has found that one wave surged to 1740 feet above the bay.
|Lituya Bay (Google Earth)|
|Lake Clark Pass (Google Earth)|
I love to tell the myths and legends of the Native Americans to enhance the interest of geologic change in Alaska and elsewhere. Some find the stories juvenile and simple but I stress the importance of observation whether it be from the point of view of Alfred Wagner the scientist known as the father of Continental Drift or that of the indigenous people whose insights and observations should be just as important.
I have found several sites that incorporate Google Earth into Earth Science lessons. One I use is the link from the AVO (Alaska Volcano Observatory), http://www.avo.alaska.edu/, that allows you to download a Google Earth file that will map recent earthquakes and active volcanoes from around the world. Other sites allow the user to use real time data to map the mid-ocean ridge in the Atlantic through the actual work from the drilling on the JR research vessel, http://joidesresolution.org/node/218
Comments for 10-24-2010
My comments ranged from formal education in the Alaskan classroom, to brewing (root beer) to perceptions the kids have of scientists. Wonderful sites out there but feel blogs have TOO much emphasis on education today.