Matt Nolan invented a survey method called "FODAR," using it to discern that Mount Isto is taller than former competitor Mount Chamberlin by 76 feet.
What's the tallest mountain in Alaska north of the Arctic Circle?
That's not just a tough trivia question, but a previously unsettled dispute among geographers that's finally answered thanks to a new mapping technique.
UAF glaciologist Matt Nolan got the answer while studying glacier volume in the eastern Brooks Range, where maps published since the 1950s said the tallest arctic peak was either Mount Chamberlin or Mount Isto.
Nolan invented a survey method called "FODAR," similar to LIDAR except that instead of a laser it uses an ordinary camera with a high-quality lens to measure elevations from an airplane.
The answer, published in the open-access journal "The Cryosphere" is Mount Isto, at 8,975 feet, 76 feet taller than Mount Chamberlin. In fact, another peak, Mount Hubley, is 16 feet taller than Chamberlin.
Nolan says FODAR will continue to be useful for monitoring snow thickness and melting glaciers in the Arctic.