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Ash vs. airplanes

Between 1953 and 2009,* there were 129 reported incidents of airplane-ash encounters, with 79 of those causing some degree of airframe or engine damage. Twenty-six involved significant or severe damage, and nine involved some degree of engine shutdown during flight. Most of the encounters occurred within 24 hours of the onset of ash production during an eruption and within 1,000 kilometers of the source volcano. All flights landed safely.

02 Apr 2017

Getting there and getting around Mount Katahdin

Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park is about 120 kilometers northwest of Bangor, Maine, and its international airport. Once in Maine, you will need a car to get around. You can rent one at the airport or drive in from another large regional city like Boston. Plan to visit in the summer months before Oct. 15, when the campgrounds close. Bear in mind, they can be closed earlier due to weather.

08 Mar 2017

The Dinosaur Garden of the Gobi: Motivating future paleontologists

In June 2016, the tourism board of Dalanzadgad, a small city in the Mongolian Gobi, opened a new dinosaur theme park on the outskirts of town. It was paid for with a government grant awarded before the 2016 economic downturn. The night we arrived in town, our Gobi team was given a tour by two of the project’s biggest advocates.

15 Feb 2017

Getting there and getting around the Dead Sea rift

Most flights into Israel from the U.S. and Europe go through Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), located 19 kilometers south of Tel Aviv. The most flexible and convenient option for getting to and from the airport and for exploring the region is to rent a vehicle; the airport and downtown Tel Aviv offer many rental options. Cars drive on the right, and road signs are marked in Hebrew and English. From the airport, the Dead Sea is about a three-hour drive (170 kilometers).

09 Feb 2017

A mysterious first

Women sailed around the sub-Antarctic islands well before Caroline Mikkelsen or Ingrid Christensen’s journeys, usually accompanying their sailor husbands. Maori navigators are known to have traveled these waters for centuries. 

05 Feb 2017

Underwater archaeology

As the ice sheets melted at the end of the last ice age, sea level rose dramatically, drowning much of the paleo coastline of North and South America under meters of water. To find evidence old enough to be associated with the initial colonizers, archaeologists have to get wet, even donning scuba gear to search for human relics along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Such work is highly technical and expensive, but a small handful of divers trained in underwater archaeological excavation techniques insist that it’s worth the trouble. 

01 Jan 2017

Earliest evidence of humans in the Americas

Map showing the earliest evidence of humans in the Americas. 

01 Jan 2017

Getting there and getting around Shetland

Getting to the Shetland Islands requires taking a ferry from mainland Scotland. Ferries are very comfortable and well-run, with a smooth overnight passage from Aberdeen to Lerwick. We took that route up to Shetland, and a different route — to the Orkney Islands — on the way back. The schedule running from Lerwick to the town of Kirkwall (in Orkney) is less ideal, arriving in the middle of the night, but the local hotels are used to their guests dropping in at midnight.

23 Dec 2016

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

Southern Chile has two main gateways, the homey town of Puerto Natales, a 1.5-hour drive from the national park, and Punta Arenas, a small city about 4 hours’ drive to the south. Of the two, Punta Arenas (PUQ) has the larger airport, which hosts regular year-round flights from Santiago on LATAM and Sky Airline, an efficient regional carrier, plus occasional flights from Puerto Montt in Chile’s beautiful Lake District. Flights to Puerto Natales (PNT) only operate during the summer season. There are no direct flights from the U.S. to this region.

30 Nov 2016

Getting there and getting around Tumbler Ridge

There are no direct commercial flights into Tumbler Ridge, which is about a 13-hour drive from Vancouver, B.C. However, Air Canada and WestJet fly from Vancouver into nearby Fort St. John, and from there, it is about a two-hour drive to Tumbler Ridge. Regional airline Central Mountain Air also flies from Vancouver into Dawson Creek, about a 90-minute drive from Tumbler Ridge. You can also fly into Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, a 6.5-hour drive, or Grande Prairie, a 2.5-hour drive.

04 Nov 2016

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