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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living On Earth Alamanc

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... An 800 mile trek along the TransAlaskan oil pipeline.


CURWOOD: From the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Alaska, this pipeline is made for you and me. At least that's how science writer Ned Rozell sees it. Mr. Rozell and his dog Jane are on a 4-month trek along the Trans-Alaskan Oil Pipeline. On May 4th, man and dog left Valdez on Alaska's southern coast, expecting to reach Prudhoe Bay 800 miles due north in early September. During that time they will cross 3 mountain ranges and 800 rivers and streams. Mr. Rozell is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the pipeline's construction. A quite ingenious design, actually. A steel tube, 4 feet in diameter and insulated with fiberglass, the pipeline zigzags through most of its route. This helps reduce the effects of expansion and contraction caused by changing temperatures. And where the pipeline crosses major fault lines, it rests on sliding rails built to move when the earth does. During his trip Ned Rozell plans to keep up his weekly science columns. But one thing he won't keep up with is the oil. Traveling at an average of 6 miles an hour, the oil makes the journey across Alaska in just 5 and a half days. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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