• FRAM based low power systems for low duty cycle applications

      Gossel, Cody A.; Raskovic, Dejan; Thorsen, Denise; Sonwalkar, Vikas (2019-05)
      Ferro-Electric Random Access Memory (FRAM) is a leap forward in non-volatile data storage technology for embedded systems. It allows for persistent storage without any power consumption, fulfilling the same role as flash memory. FRAM, however, provides several major advantages over flash memory, which can be leveraged to substantially reduce sleep current in a device. In applications where most of the time is spent sleeping these reductions can have a large impact on the average current. With careful design sleep currents as low as 72 nA have been demonstrated. A lower current consumption allows for more flexibility in deploying the device; smaller batteries or alternative power sources can be considered, and operating life can be extended. FRAM is not appropriate for every situation and there are some considerations to obtain the maximum benefit from its use. An MSP430FR2311 microcontroller is used to measure the performance of the FRAM and how to structure a program to achieve the lowest power consumption. Clock speed and instruction caching in particular have a large effect on the power consumption and tests are performed to quantify their effect. Two case studies are considered, a feedback control system and a data logger. Both cases involve large amounts of data writes and allow for the effects of the FRAM to be easily observed. Expected battery life is determined for each case when the sample rate is varied, suggesting that average operating current for the two solutions will nearly converge when the sampling period exceeds 1000 s. For sampling periods on the order of one second operating current can be reduced from 15.4 μA to 730 nA by utilizing FRAM in lieu of flash.
    • A Framework for teachers in education for sustainable development for upper elementary grades in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

      Wylde, Allison; Green, Carie; Spellman, Katie; Vinlove, Amy (2020-05)
      Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a holistic approach to education that seeks to create a better world for this generation and the next. The aim of ESD is for students to gain knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will shape the planet for a sustainable future. The United Nations has adopted 17 Global Goals as a "universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030” (United Nations Development Program, 2020, para. 1). Models for sustainability look very different depending on where one lives. The context of this work is Alaska, and more specifically the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The purpose of this project is to build a website resource to aid teachers in developing a mindset toward ESD and provide locally relevant resources and curriculum aligned with the United Nations Global Goals. This project is guided by the question of how Indigenous Ways of Knowing & Culturally responsive practices can be incorporated into curriculum development alongside district standards and ESD competencies. The methods of this project seek to engage students by incorporating real-world challenges and authentic experiences into core subject areas allowing students to connect classroom learning to real life, and thus creating engaged citizens. The aims are for students to become environmentally aware, while developing life-skills including leadership, communication, collaboration, and management. By developing a sense of place and equipping students with environmental knowledge and skills they can excel at living lives which further humanity while caring for and respecting our planet and it's resources.
    • Framing Complexity: Teachers And Students Use Of Technology In Alaska One To One Laptop Learning Environments

      Whicker, Robert E.; Monahan, John; Richey, Jean; Roehl, Roy; Eck, Norman; Crumley, Robert (2012)
      The topic for this dissertation is to investigate perceptions within the implementation of established one to one laptop learning programs in Alaska high schools. A primary purpose is to gain understanding of teacher and student perception of their technology use levels by establishing a level of adoption. A secondary purpose is to gain understanding of teacher perceptions regarding concerns and implementation concepts. The theoretical framework for this study used a concurrent mixed methods approach, beginning with a quantitative broad survey with supporting qualitative open-ended questions. The sample used for this study includes public high school teachers and students, who are part of a one-to-one laptop program in thirteen schools districts across Alaska. Analysis of frequencies of technology use and levels of proficiency for both students and teachers were made in areas of personal and classroom use. Teacher professional practice was also analyzed with an emphasis on professional development. Statistical analysis included analysis of variance of demographic measures and classroom use, correlation and regression of teachers' levels of proficiency. Findings indicated a mature implementation of one to one programs throughout the teacher population sample with teachers reporting high stages of concern and moderate levels of technology use focused on the students' use of technology for learning. Implementation recommendations indicated by this study include the use of a framework to measure program progress and to gather teacher voices through the life of a project, clear communication of program goals, and a professional development model suited toward teachers' needs. This study will provide a baseline of knowledge for future studies in Alaska.
    • Frances Anne Hopkins and the George Back connection: tracking through the Canadian landscapes of two nineteenth-century artists to find where lines converge

      MacDonald, Pamela K. (2004-08)
      My paper examines the artistic influence of the renowned British explorer and artist George Back on fellow Rupert's Land artist Frances Anne Hopkins, wife of Edward Hopkins, the man in charge of the Montreal Division of the Hudson's Bay Company in the mid-nineteenth century. The aesthetic gap between the two artists is wide in that Back's sketches depict a kind of terrifying wasteland quality best described as sublime. Hopkins' Canadian landscapes are colorful, on the other hand, and show people who are at ease with their surroundings. Other notable artists also documented nineteenth-century Canadian landscapes in visual images and may have had an indirect influence on Hopkins. I suggest, however, a more direct link may be made between the artists beyond the similarities drawn out of their sublime and beautiful images. My study proposes to show that influence may exist based on Hopkins' father and his Admiralty connection to Back. After a discussion on the important historical aspects coloring the artists' work, I will clarify the Hopkins family-tie relationship to Back, followed by a discussion of their art and potential evidence of influence.
    • Freeze-thaw effect on soil microbial activity with biochar application in subarctic soils

      Castillo, Sunny M.; Soria, Juan Andres; Ping, Chien Lu; Michaelson, Gary; Leigh, MaryBeth (2013-08)
      Alaska has limited agricultural production due to extreme climatic conditions and weakly developed soils, which affect productivity. In higher latitudes, freeze-thaw cycles are common and influence soil biology and nutrient dynamics, offering a unique opportunity to investigate the use of soil amendments like biochar to enhance native biota and soil's intrinsic properties. Biochar for this study was produced from locally harvested black spruce (Picea mariana), using a fixed bed pyrolysis unit. The production of biochar was electronically controlled with temperatures kept at 550°C, and residence times manipulated by a mechanical auger, in order to yield five distinct biochar products. Chemical analyses showed differences among the biochar samples, including cation exchange capacity (CEC), micronutrients and pH. To evaluate the influence of each biochar on higher latitude native soils and biota, a response surface model was employed to design a set of experiments that measured CO₂ accumulation during a 15-day freeze -thaw cycle. Microbial activity during this experimental phase was monitored before and after freeze-thaw. Results of this study demonstrated that cultivated soils amended with biochar showed higher microbial activity before and after freeze-thaw. Forest soil on the contrary showed no significant results when amended with biochar. These results on different microbial activity were likely due to the amounts of organic carbon present in each soil type. The study serves as an evaluative tool for determining the impact that biochar may have in subarctic regions of the US that have limited agricultural potential as a result of climatic and native soil conditions.
    • Freezing tolerance and survival experiments with various intertidal organisms from Kachemak Bay, Alaska

      Patterson, Heather Kristine (2004-08)
      Intertidal organisms at high latitudes experience multiple stresses created by freezing, including ischemia, free water reduction, and distortion and destruction of cells, and in response have adapted behavioral and physiological solutions. This study examined the response of intertidal organisms in Kachemak Bay, Alaska to freezing through laboratory experiments and field studies. Mytilus trossulus, Balanus glandula, Protothaca staminea and various limpets (Lottidae) survived freezing conditions to -10 and -20°C, depending on the season. Mytilus trossulus and B. glandula survived multiple freeze events at -10°C. Seasonal freeze response was not induced by exposure to low air temperature in M trossulus. Exposure to O⁰C was not fatal to any of the species studied: M trossulus, B. glandula, P. staminea, limpets, Fusitriton oregonensis, Katharina tunicata and Leptasterias hexactis. Preliminary results suggest that M trossulus and P. staminea have an ice nucleator. Freezing avoidance may be one cause for the differences seen in seasonal distribution patterns of F. oregonensis, Nucella lima, Onchidella borealis, Siphonaria thersites and Littorina sitkana. The current study demonstrated that intertidal organisms in this region exhibit differing responses to freezing. Some organisms survive freezing conditions by freeze tolerance, while others may avoid it by moving lower in the intertidal.
    • Freshwater Fish Biogeography In The Bering Glacier Region, Alaska

      Weigner, Heidi L.; Hippel, Frank von; Hundertmark, Kris; Lopez, Andres; Pfeiffer, David (2012)
      Bering Glacier, Alaska, is Earth's largest surging glacier, with surges occurring approximately every 20-30 years since 1900. Surges and subsequent retreats lead to a dynamic environment for aquatic communities, as glacial ice over-rides landscapes and new habitats form during glacial retreat. Lands around Bering Glacier are administered by the State of Alaska and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Purposes of this study are to characterize fish communities and provide information relevant to their management for BLM. Given Bering Glacier's remoteness, little information exists regarding its fish communities. Fish were collected over five summer field seasons (2002-2006), with 10 fish species collected in 80 lakes and streams. Results indicate that Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma), threespine stickleback ( Gasterosteus aculeatus), prickly sculpin (Coitus asper), and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are first to colonize new habitat after glacial retreat. Ten locations with sympatric populations of anadromous and resident freshwater threespine stickleback were found. Geometric morphometrics and genetic analyses were conducted on these species pairs to test hypotheses regarding their formation. Possible origins include sympatric speciation, double invasion of anadromous fish, and independent colonization by resident freshwater fish from pre-existing lakes and streams along with anadromous fish. Body shape analyses of anadromous vs. resident freshwater stickleback supported the independent colonization hypothesis, because of a lack of body shape co-variation between groups, a lack of correlation of geometric morphometric variables with site age, and few fish with intermediate body shape at each site. Origin hypotheses were tested by use of the frequency of the Euro-North American Clade (ENAC) vs. the Trans North Pacific Clade (TNPC) in the mtDNA as well as sequence divergence of a portion of the mtDNA gene NADH2. A greater proportion of TNPC fish exist in resident freshwater populations at all sites, supporting the independent colonization hypothesis. The NADH2 sequence data did not help to clarify the origins. Future research at Bering Glacier should examine broader scale sequence divergence in genomes of stickleback and other colonizing fishes to advance the understanding of contemporary evolution and management implications in this newly formed aquatic landscape.
    • Freshwater growth and recruitment of Yukon and Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon: a retrospective growth analysis.

      Leon, Justin M.; McPhee, Megan; Sutton, Trent; Adkison, Milo (2013-05)
      Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha recruitment in the Yukon and Kuskokwim (Y-K) region of western Alaska is important for subsistence and commercial harvest. Recruitment of Chinook salmon in this region has been unpredictable in recent years, and managers and subsistence harvesters are searching for answers. Chinook salmon require freshwater growth to smolt, and larger smolts are thought to have higher marine survival. In this study, I tested for correlations between freshwater growth and recruitment using measurements from scale digitizations. All analyses were conducted at the tributary scale, with one tributary representing each river system. Linear regressions were used to check for correlations between freshwater growth and Chinook salmon returns (female productivity - recruits per spawner), number and size of female spawners present, marine growth, and water temperature. Tukey multiple comparison tests and stacked bar plots were used to check for correlations between freshwater growth and the age at which females mature and between freshwater growth and early maturation. I found no direct correlation between freshwater growth and recruitment in either tributary. However, freshwater growth appears to be decreasing as time progresses. These results suggest that, while important, freshwater growth is not the factor directly limiting recruitment in either of these tributaries.
    • From a snowflake to the snow cover: processes that shape polar and taiga snowpacks

      Filhol, Simon; Sturm, Matthew; Truffer, Martin; Larsen, Christopher F.; Eicken, Hajo (2016-08)
      Snowpacks found in boreal and polar regions are the most widespread types of snow in the world, covering up to 14% of the globe. In both regions, snow accumulates over a long period (6-7 months), transforming the landscape by the presence of a thin snowpack (≤70 cm), affecting the local climate, ecology, and hydrology. In the case of polar snow, wind plays a crucial role in redistributing snow, and shaping the snow surface. But in the case of the taiga snow found in the forests of the boreal regions, micro-topography and vegetation are stronger drivers of snow distribution than wind. In this dissertation, I explore the mechanisms responsible for shaping the snow surfaces in windy and in calm conditions. Collecting data at the plot scale with a terrestrial lidar, I sought explanations of the features geometry visible on the snow surfaces in grain scale physical processes. Because snow is close to its fusion temperature in this environment, its behavior at the grain scale can greatly influence its bulk properties. So finding linkages between processes occurring at the grain scale and the observable features at the plot scale may be key to furthering our understanding of snow distribution. In the first study, I found that the morphology and the occurrence of the seven known types of snow bedforms are dependent on the ability for wind to erode the surface. Erodibility is directly linked to the sintering of wind-slab grains. For this reason, every snow dune eventually turns into sastrugi. In the second study, I studied the effects of underlying topography on the accumulation of snow in calm conditions. I found that processes such as bouncing, cohesion or interlocking of snowflakes can either enhance or inhibit the smoothing of initial bumps. In the third study, I found that plant canopies affect the deposition of snow in the boreal forest. I could differentiate up to five types of canopies for their effects on snow accumulation. Despite the complexity of the canopy structures we observed, over three years, similar accumulation patterns and reactions of canopies to snow loading were seen. I was surprised to find the presence of subnivean cavities associated to plants with a size equivalent to the average snow depth.
    • From camps to communities: Neets'ąįį Gwich'in planning and development in a pre- and post-settlement context

      Stern, Charlene Barbara; Koskey, Michael; Leonard, Beth; Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Aruskevich, Kas (2018-05)
      This study focuses on the Neets'aii Gwich'in, whose traditional territory is located in the northeastern interior of Alaska, and their experiences with planning and development. Prior to settling into permanent villages, the Neets'ąįį lived in widely scattered camps moving in relation to seasonal subsistence resources. Equipped with extensive knowledge of their country, Neets'ąįį people knew at any given time where the best places for certain animals and resources were and thus would camp closer to those areas. According to Neets'ąįį oral history, life in the "those days" was preoccupied with basic survival. Planning ahead, being prepared, and adapting to changing conditions were some of the key strategies that enabled the Neets'ąįį to survive from one generation to the next in one of the harshest climates in the world. The past 170 years has brought unprecedented change to the Neets'ąįį. The socio-economic and political context which historically defined the experience of the Neets'ąįį shifted dramatically as a result of colonization, the establishment of permanent settlements and the ensuing need for community infrastructure. Today, the Neets'ąįį are centralized in two villages, Vashrąįį K'ǫǫ (Arctic Village) and Vįįhtąįį (Venetie), located within the boundaries of the 1.8 million-acre Venetie Indian Reserve. The transition from Neets'ąįį camps to permanent communities has introduced many new needs including landfills, roads, power generation, etc. Whereas Neets'ąįį ancestors traditionally used planning as a survival strategy, their descendants today use planning to attract external investment for much needed infrastructure. This dissertation explores the ways in which the Neets'ąįį Gwich'in have engaged in planning and development in a pre- and post-settlement context.
    • From Forest To Tundra: Historical Biogeography, Floristic Diversity And Nucleotide Variation In Balsam Poplar

      Breen, Amy L.; Olson, Matthew; Murray, David F.; Taylor, D. Lee; Walker, Donald A.; Wolf, Diana E. (2010)
      The North America boreal forest extends across more than 10� of latitude from central Labrador to interior Alaska. Periods of major climate fluctuations, including glacial and interglacial cycles, drove major migrations in the Quaternary history of the boreal forest. Beringia, the unglaciated region between the Lena and Mackenzie rivers, is recognized as an important refugium for arctic plants during the last ice age, but its role for boreal trees remains controversial. The paleobotanical record indicates Populus balsamifera (balsam poplar) survived within Beringia during the last glacial. My research employed an interdisciplinary approach, combining techniques in the fields of ecology, evolution and population genetics, to reconstruct the late Quaternary migration history of balsam poplar and to describe and classify balsam poplar plant communities in the Alaskan Arctic. Chapter 1 describes the motivation for the research. Chapter 2 addresses whether a demographically-detectable population of balsam poplar was present within Beringia during the most recent ice age. I found that patterns of variation in chloroplast DNA are most consistent with the presence of a single population of balsam poplar south of the continental ice sheets through the Late Quaternary. Chapter 3 is an analysis of floristic diversity in balsam poplar communities across the Arctic Slope, Interior Alaska and the Yukon Territory and asks whether one balsam poplar-associated plant community spans the arctic and boreal regions, or if these communities differ. I found that arctic communities are dominated by arctic-alpine taxa, whereas boreal communities are dominated by boreal taxa. A strong linkage between climate and the occurrence of balsam poplar also was observed on the Arctic Slope. Chapter 4 is a study of nucleotide diversity in three nuclear loci across the range of balsam poplar. This was the first study to document geographic structure in genetic variation within the species. It also showed that diversity in three North American poplars (P. balsamifera, P. deltoides and P. trichocarpa) was substantially less than that of three Eurasian poplars (P. alba, P. nigra and P. tremula). Chapter 5 summarizes the research and points toward future research directions.
    • Froth flotation characterization and processing plant design for the platiniferous and auriferous marine sediments of Southwestern Alaska

      Bissue, Charles (2007-12)
      The purpose of this study was to characterize, and investigate the beneficiation of, the platiniferous and auriferous marine sediments of Southwestern Alaska, located near Platinum, Alaska. The majority of placer gold particles are contained in the 50 x 150 mesh size fraction, while the platinum is finer, residing in the 100 x 200 mesh size fraction. Liberated placer gold and placer platinum group metals (PGM) particles are visible to the naked eye and readily observed under a binocular microscope. Preliminary, qualitative microprobe analysis of PGM grains from the flotation concentrate showed grains of nearly pure iridium, isoferroplatinum and Pt-Rh-Ir-Fe-S-As mineralogy. Froth flotation showed that placer gold responded very well to all the collectors used, with gold recoveries of 82.7-99.8%. Flotation of platinum responded well to only potassium amyl xanthate, with a recovery of 80.4%. Results of low intensity magnetic separation showed that virtually all the liberated gold and platinum reported to the non magnetic product. A flowsheet, with estimated capital and operating costs, was developed to process 1500 tph of marine placer feed. Annualized costs per ton to process marine sediments were estimated to be $2.40 to $3.72 depending upon plant availability, 90% to 50%, respectively.
    • Fuel penetration rates in frozen and unfrozen soils: Bethel, Alaska

      McCauley, Craig Alan (2000-05)
      Alaska fuel-storage facilities are required by law to provide secondary containment for their largest tank-volume. Secondary containment commonly includes berms, catchment basins and ditches. Fuel-penetration rates on site soils are needed to predict potential fuel-penetration depths. Field and lab tests quantified fuel-penetration rates for three site soils in Bethel, Alaska. In-situ tests following ASTM D 5093-90 allowed measurement of fuel infiltration rates using a falling-head permeameter allowed quantification of hydraulic conductivities, permeabilities and infiltration rates in frozen and unfrozen soils prepared at various moisture contents. Unfrozen samples were tested at room temperature, 19.8-24.0C̊ (67.6-75.2F̊). Fuel-penetration rates were similar regardless of moisture contents. Tests for frozen samples occurred at -4C̊ (25F̊). Fuel-penetration rates decreased as ice-saturation increased. The permeant used for each test was a Diesel #2/Jet A-50 fuel mixture (heating fuel) consisting of predominately Jet A-50.
    • Functional comparisons between formal and informal tools sampled from the Nenana and the Denali assemblages of the Dry Creek Site

      Hall, Patrick T.; Potter, Ben; Fazzino, David; Clark, Jamie (2015-12)
      This research involved low powered microscopic analysis of usewear patterns on the utilized edges of formal and informal tools sampled from the Nenana component (C1) and the Denali component (C2) of the Dry Creek Site. Dry Creek is one of the type sites for the Nenana Complex, which is often contrasted with the Denali Complex in Late Pleistocene archaeological studies of central Alaska (12,000-10,000 B.P.). There are twice as many unifacial scrapers than bifacial tools in the C1 formal tool assemblage. The C1 worked lithic assemblage contains a relatively high number of unifacially worked endscrapers and side scrapers when compared to the number of bifacial knife and point technology. The technological makeup of the formal tools sampled from the Denali component is characterized by the manufacture and use of a higher number of bifacial knives and projectile points. The presence of microblades within C2 and the absence of microblades in C1 are often cited as the most significant technological difference between these two tool kits. The analysis presented here suggests that with or without microblades, the Nenana and Denali components are different tool kits. However, differences in utilization signatures between formal bifacial knives and scrapers tools indicate that technological variability within C1 and C2 at Dry Creek may largely be shaped by early hunting and butchering versus later stage butchering and processing activities.
    • Functional inferences for groups of stone tools from a late Pleistocene archaeological site found in central Alaska: use-wear analysis of experimental stone tools and a sample of lithic from component I of the Walker Road site (HEA-130)

      Flanigan, Thomas Howard; Powers, W. Roger; Irish, Joel D.; Gerlach, S. Craig (2002-05)
      This report is a discussion of use-wear analysis conducted on an experimental tool assemblage (n=36), and a sample of lithic artifacts (n-114) from component I of the Walker Road archaeological site (WR-CI). WR-CI is a late pleistocene human occupation site located in the Nenana Valley of Alaska, that is assigned to the Nenana complex (Goebel and Hamilton 1999). The experimental basis for this project, in combination with the results of other use-wear studies, is employed to infer the functions of the tools from the WR-CI sample.
    • Functionality and history of electronics in regards to the performance practice of the following works: Temazcal (1984), Javier Álvarez, and Memory Palace (2012), Christopher Cerrone

      Ransom, Jacob; Palter, Morris; Zilberkant, Eduard; Post, William (2016-05)
      The Electroacoustic pieces; Temazcal (1984), by Javier Alvarez (b.1956), and Memory Palace (2012) by Christopher Cerrone (b.1984), each employ different types of electronic technologies in their realization through performance. This paper will discuss the origin and history of the technology applied respectively in the works. I will examine the role of percussion within the works, specifically in regards to learning and problem solving through technological challenges in order to effectively perform the compositions. By looking at Temazcal and Memory Palace through the context of their historical significance as electroacoustic works, the inherent functionality of the technology employed in each, and the resultant performance practices that have subsequently developed, a greater musical appreciation and understanding of electroacoustic works, in general, is possible.
    • Funding issues associated with schooling in Alaska and Ghana

      Donkor, Harry; Monahan, John; Reyes, Maria; Barnhardt, Ray; Lehman, John (2007-05)
      This thesis provides a comparative analysis of the educational funding systems in Ghana and Alaska. The issues discussed in this thesis include the equitable and adequate distribution of funding for the educational needs of the various school districts in both countries. This study will focus on three areas : (1) Review of the history and foundation of education in the Alaska, and Ghana ; (2) Study of education funding for K-12 education in Alaska and Ghana; (3) Making a determination on whether educational funding in Alaska and Ghana is sufficient to meet the funding needs of K-12 schools. In this study I will be attentive to two major areas : (1) Adequacy - Is the money being spent sufficient? (2) Equity- Is there equal funding for all K-12 schools in Alaska and Ghana? The goal of this research is to learn through this research more about adequacy and equity.
    • Further clarification of interpersonal versus social values conflict: insights from motorized and non-motorized recreational river users

      Gibson, Michael J.; Fix, Peter J.; Greenberg, Joshua A.; Paragi, Thomas (2014-12)
      This study examined interpersonal and social values conflict among motorized and non-motorized recreational river users within the Chena River State Recreation Area in interior Alaska. This work was undertaken in order to evaluate differences in research methodologies and to provide state park managers with information concerning the type and level of conflict among recreational rivers users and potential management strategies. Previous methodologies for operationalizing social values conflict are not conceptually clear and may result in individuals being classified into the wrong conflict typology. This study addressed these conceptual problems by: 1) introducing a new conflict typology to differentiate between social values conflict and latent problem behaviors and 2) by uniformly applying a non-behavior based measure to classify social values conflict. Data were collected using an on-site survey provided to motorized (n = 26) and non-motorized (n = 63) recreational river users at multiple put-in/take-out locations. To the extent conflict existed, social values conflict was the most prevalent. A small but perceptible number of respondents in both user groups reported a latent-behavior conflict. Based on these data, results generated using the methods in this study were compared to the results generated using previous methodologies. Differences were found between the number of non-motorized respondents who were classified into the no conflict and social values conflict typologies. Based on the results, a combination of management strategies such as education and outreach and alternative infrastructure development should be used to reduce conflict among users.
    • The future of shale

      Malin, Michael A.; Vander Naald, Brian P.; Little, John; Tichotsky, John; Reynolds, Douglas (2016-05)
      This project examines the various drivers that led to the U.S. shale oil revolution in order to predict its place in the energy industry going forward and to analyze its effects on Alaska. The shale boom flooded the market with oil causing a dramatic decrease in crude oil prices in late 2014. With this price drop threatening to send Alaska into an economic recession, the future of shale should be of primary concern to all Alaskans as well as other entities that rely heavily on oil revenue. The primary driver leading to the shale revolution is technology. Advances in hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling, and 3D seismic mapping made producing shale oil and gas possible for the first time. New technologies like rotary steerable systems and measurements while drilling continue to make shale production more efficient, and technology will likely continue to improve. Infrastructure helps to explain why the shale revolution was mostly an American phenomenon. Many countries with shale formations have political infrastructure too unstable to risk shale investment. Capital infrastructure is a primary strength of the U.S. and also helps to explain why shale development didn't find its way up to Alaska despite having political stability. Financial infrastructure allowed oil companies to receive the funding necessary to quickly bring shale to the market. The final driver explored is crude oil prices. High oil prices helped spark the shale revolution, but with the recent price crash, there is uncertainty about its future. With production costs continually falling due to technology improvements and analysts predicting crude oil prices to stabilize above most project breakeven points, the future of shale looks bright.