Author Archives: kmlarson4

Blog 5: Marshall

Marshall, Alaska is located in the west region of Alaska at latitude 61.8791 and longitude -162.087 (DCRA). This community is just outside of the Yukon-Delta National Refuge and near the lower end of the Yukon River and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The physiography of the area is within the Intermontane Basins and Plateaus regions. Temperatures are moderate in this region since Marshall is within the Bering Sea Coast climate region. This area receives about 16 inches a year of precipitation and the average temperature is 51 degrees (Lesson 5 Climate). This land is in an area of discontinuous permafrost and is considered a subarctic tundra. Looking further into the ecoregion, Marshall is located on the edge of the Nulato Hills (figure 6.16, Lesson 6) nested between Pilcher Mountain and Okumaik Mountain. Marshall has Bottomland and Coast Western Hemlock-Sitka Spruce trees (Figure 6.13, Lesson 6). The DCRA considers Marshall a transitional area of tundra and boreal forests. From examining the ecoregion map Marshall is on the border of the Lower-Yukon Delta and Nulato Hills.   The Lower-Yukon Delta has a high amount of glacier sediment brought down through the river (Alaska Fish and Game). The community itself stretches a total of 4.7 square miles (DCRA).

Marshall, Alaska DCRA Community Photo Library

Marshall has a few potential natural disaster risks that could become hazardous within the region. The Yukon River has been the source of many dangerous floods within the state. The community is within the flood zone of the Yukon River and other creeks, the community is subjected to potential flooding caused by ice jams as well. Many of the homes and other community buildings are on stilts to prevent damage if flooding occurs. To the left is an image of the clinic from the DCRA photo library, notice how the foundation is on stilts. Land erosion over time is a potential hazard as well since the community is along the river.

Marshall has several types of spruce trees within the transitional zone, this in particular makes forest fires another potential danger to the community. From the Alaska Wildfire page, many large forest fires have surrounded the community of Marshall in the past. Fortunately, none of the fires recorded by Alaska Wildfires have reached the community itself.   By examining the Alaska Earthquake Center’s map (below), Marshall is not in a large density earthquake area. The town is significantly far away from the subduction zone and interior Alaska where most earthquakes appear. This area has a fairly low natural hazards risk.

Alaska Earthquake Center

The community of Marshall has had several names, one of them being Fortuna Landing. According to DCRA, the current population of Marshall is 437 and the community is considered an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Second Class City. It is within the Alaska Native Calista Corporation region and Kusilvak Census area. Approximately 97% of the community is Alaska Native, and the community is mostly Yup’ik.   The community has a water plant, school, church, post office, clinic, and community hall. From looking at an area map from the community database, it seems that the community has built a new airport away from the river. The original airport was 2061.2 feet, whereas the new airport landing strip is 3903.4 feet in length. Other forms of transportation include boats in the summer, and the barge system. The city has electricity provided by a diesel generator (DCRA).

The first expedition to Marshall was in 1880 with a population of 120 people, and more than 30 years later gold was discovered (DCRA). From, Marshall was the 25th known mining camp during the early 1900’s for both silver and gold. Most of the mining was placer mining from Wilson Creek.

By analyzing the Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska, Marshall has oil within the area (see image to the right) but there is no documentation found about oil drilling near the community.

Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska

The community has potential for river power and heat recovery as a renewable energy source (see image below).

Alaska Renewable Energy Atlas

Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska

River power could be a source of energy in the summer when the river is finally ice-free. Due to the area that it is in, solar power is not an optimal energy source. However, wind is a potential resource, but the area is limited. According to the DCRA, this community relies on subsistence and fishing.   Many types of fish spawn in the Yukon including five types of salmon, Dolly Varden, and Arctic grayling (Alaska Department of Fish and Game).

Marshall has seen booms for fishing and mining, and is in a low hazardous region. Since there is oil near Marshall, there may be potential for oil drilling in the area. However, it may be challenging since the community relies on fishing and is located Native land. Since Marshall was once a goldmine community and it is on the Yukon, it could potentially see a small amount of tourism, if the Yukon becomes a popular tourist route.




Renewable Energy Atlas:


Alaska Earthquake Center




Blog 3

After comparing from a variety of resources such as the Alaska National Weather Service, Alaska Volcano Observatory, Alaska Wildland Fire Information, as well as the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and documenting the natural disasters I think I have determined the most hazardous area in Alaska. It was hard to make the region smaller since there were so many events throughout history that could not be ignored. The area of Alaska which I think is the most hazardous is from just West of the Cook Inlet to Palmer, down the Kenai Peninsula.

Earthquakes: There have been a multitude of earthquakes within Alaska and even some larger magnitudes within the interior. However, the two I would consider hazardous that fell within this region are the 1964 and 2018 Anchorage earthquakes which at magnitudes of 9.2 and 7.0 respectively. These earthquakes caused severe damage to businesses, roadways, and homes.
Below are two topical geographical maps of earthquakes within Alaska:

Tsunamis: According to, the 1964 Alaska earthquake also triggered a tsunami in Kodiak, Whitter, and Seward. Since this region is coastal, tsunamis could potentially become a disaster depending on earthquake or landslide activity. Even though the largest tsunami happened in Lituya Bay, others occurred within the Kenai Peninsula region.

Volcanoes: Based on the tectonic plates and the type of plate boundary, there are many volcanoes along the southern coast of Alaska and Aleutian Islands. Several of these volcanoes have erupted within the last hundred years and many are still active. Mt. Redoubt erupted in five times since being recorded in 1778 ( The explosive eruptions damaged homes from the volcanic ash. Other volcanoes within the area include: Augstine, Spurr, and Iliamna.

Floods: Some of the volcanic eruptions caused glacial flooding within the region and other floods were caused by glacier dams. Both the Knik and Kenai rivers had floods which caused damages to the area. In 1995 the Kenai river flooded again and caused an estimated 10 million dollars in damages to the Seward and surrounding areas. (

Fires: Although most of the major fires of Alaska occur within the interior, there are fires that take place within the Kenai Peninsula. Just last year there was a fire caused by lightning near Soldotna at Swan Lake. According to Alaska Wildland Fire Information, the fire was over 167,000 aches.
9/25/19 – 10:00 AM – Swan Lake Fire Fact Sheet and Public Information Map

Avalanches: To find a clear topical map of Alaska’s avalanches was a little more difficult to find. I based my information on recorded avalanche deaths from: Avalanche Accidents/ Incidents. Many deaths happened in various places of the state, however there were deaths within this region. There were high deaths in avalanches near Turnagain Pass, Kenai Mountains, and Crescent Lake.

Avalanche Accidents/Incidents

Blog 2: Maps

From the list of maps my top four would be the 19th century Alaska Map (Figure 2.1), the map of the forests (Figure 2.3), the map of the villages (Figure 2.4), and the orthographic projection (Figure 2.10).

I was impressed at how close the 19th century Harriman Expedition map was considering they were sailing around to gather and process that information. Although it does not give any information to the interior of Alaska, I think the map is relatively close considering the technology they had.

The other two maps that I found interesting were the maps of the villages and forests of Alaska. There were both regional geographic maps since they focused on a single feature. However, these features tell about the of land and the people. Many of my students are from rural areas of Alaska and it is historically interesting to see where villages were formed because of the waterways of the state. Additionally, I am from the interior of Alaska and I am so used to being surrounded by trees. It gives a different perspective to see how much of the state does not have any forestry. By comparing the Harriman Expedition map to the forestry map, it is explains why they labeled “Great Marshes’ as the only indicator of what the land was like. There are no trees for hundreds of miles. These two maps would be very neat to share with my students.

Lastly, I think the orthographic projection gives the best perspective for the scale size of the state compared to other surrounding countries. I like spherical geometry and this map created in a mathematical way. It looks like it could be sketched from the International Space Station. I am curious to the exact process of how this map was made.

Blog 1: Introduction

Hello! My name is Kaylee Larson and I am a math teacher in Nenana, Alaska. I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska.   A few years ago, I graduated from UAF with a B.S. in Mathematics and Master’s in Secondary Education. I am taking this course in order to reapply for my teaching certificate over the summer and meet the requirements by the state. I think it will be interesting to learn more about my home state as well as integrate some of the concepts into the classroom! I have been to several places within the state such as Tok, Chicken, Delta, Anchorage, Valdez, Homer, Galena, and a few small communities along the Parks Highway.