Ground Truth Trekking

Sprouting like weeds

This aerial view of tundra on the north slope shows large patches of Alaska's State Flower sprouting from the tundra.

They seem to selectively grow in the center of the ice polygons that make up north slope tundra. Perhaps they are out-competed by tall grasses that live on the edge of the polygons, or they prefer the moister ground in the middle. Whatever the reason, these beauties are rarely seen in such abundance, and should rumors of their proliferation in this harsh northern climate spread, the tourists will come rushing.

The erosion of the tundra along this melting arctic coast threatens the habitat of Alaska's Sate Flower. Fortunately, once mature, these vibrant plants can survive even severe storms, and simply take root somewhere else when they wash ashore.

This photo comes thanks to the USGS and ShoreZone. ShoreZone provides coastal imagery of over half of Alaska, and soon that imagery will include this north-slope photo and thousands more.

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Attribution and Copyright info

Public Domain

Attribution to the USGS, and ShoreZone.