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Geologic Mapping in Support of Land, Resources, and Hazards Issues in Alaska

This project focused on identifying, mapping, developing a chronology and detailed unit descriptions for the surficial deposits, including resource potential, and associated geologic hazards along the Alaska Highway in the vicinity of Tok, Alaska.

Principal Investigators:
Carrara, Paul E.

Project Contacts:
Carrara, Paul E., pcarrara@usgs.gov, 303-236-1287


Status: completed
Start Year: 2000
End Year: 2006

Location:
Tok

USGS Mission Area and Program:
Core Science SystemsNational Cooperative Geologic Mapping

Web Links:
Surficial Geologic Mapping Along the Alaska Highway in East-Central Alaska

Keywords:
Human Dimensions > Natural Hazards > Geological Hazards

Abstract


This project focused on identifying, mapping, developing a chronology and detailed unit descriptions for the surficial deposits, including resource potential, and associated geologic hazards along the Alaska Highway corridor in the vicinity of Tok, Alaska. Interest in development along this corridor from Fairbanks to the Yukon border, about 500 km to the east, increased dramatically with the proposed construction of a high-pressure natural gas pipeline and the proposed extension of the Alaska Railroad. The development of infrastructure within the corridor will require knowledge of geologic hazards, availability of construction materials, and the engineering characteristics of surficial deposits within the corridor. The need for this information has become important since May 2004 when the U.S. Senate (92-5) approved a jobs bill, which included a provision to help pay for construction of the proposed gas pipeline. There is a lack of adequate surficial or engineering geologic maps along the proposed corridor route. In this project geologic mapping focused on the surficial materials in order to provide better information on the aggregate resources, natural hazards, and related land management issues in this area. While contractors would be required to perform engineering and design studies, these narrowly focused alignment-specific studies can fail to recognize regional geologic features and hazards that may endanger the long-term safety of facilities. These hazards include active faults, areas subject to seismically induced ground-shaking amplification, landslides, debris flows, snow avalanches, flooding, ice jams, and permafrost. Surficial-engineering maps are critical for identifying regional geologic factors that may be of concern to the construction of facilities and for guiding more site specific studies.

Project metadata record

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