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.

About Donald

A computer geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He is also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray. By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.
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