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Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic National Park is so vast that it stretches across an area bigger than Vermont, Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Karupa Lake, tucked off in its northern corner, is so remote that reaching it takes a four-hour skiplane flight from Fairbanks. And it’s so quiet — a day alone there could leave you thinking humans no longer existed.

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Scientists recently set up audio recording equipment at Karupa Lake as part of a larger effort to document the changing soundscapes of our national parks. They retrieved the equipment months later. It was destroyed. They then salvaged the recordings, and found a surprise: Footsteps, sniffs, huffs, a series of clattering crunches, then silence.

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Bear versus sound recorder. Bear wins. (1)

In the deep silence even the slightest noise seems to fill the cosmos. In the darkest hour even the dimest light seems to blind you.

But the bear is not there. The noise is not heard. The light does not shine. Everything is still silent. Everything is still dark.

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You are just too occupied to notice…

Forget the bear.

Listen to the noise.

Inside you…

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