Permafrost Tunnel Research Facility

Last week, I had a private tour of the US Army Corp of Engineer’s tunnels through the permafrost just north of Fairbanks, Alaska. I learned some interesting facts that I intend to incorporate into Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. For example, before the tour, I did not know that tunnels into the permafrost have a distinctive, very strong, musty smell that is similar to (but different from) dirty gym socks. Similarly, as the ice sublimes (turns directly into water vapor without passing through a liquid phase), the solid matter is released to fall to the floor of the tunnel in the form of an extremely fine brownish gray dust. You can see all sorts of things in the walls of the tunnels including ancient bones, buried tree roots, ice lenses, molds, and even frozen grass that remains green after having been frozen tens of thousands of years. All in all, a very interesting experience.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *