Sunday, July 25, 2021

Permafrost Tunnel

On Saturday, some friends arranged a tour of the Permafrost Tunnel located north of Fairbanks near Fox. I had heard about the facility since I had arrived as a graduate student. 

There were about a dozen of us and the logistics manager did a fantastic job telling us the history of the tunnel including the early days. The original tunnel is still there but it has been expanded numerous times. Both the length and height have been increased. 

The tunnel is chilled to -5°C by numerous air conditioning systems to keep the walls and ceiling solid. LED lights are installed throughout the tunnels so it was pretty well lit. 

Numerous bones were found when they dug the tunnels but due to the area, none were considered archeologically significant. As the ice sublimates, items surface such as this horn. 


SonjaM said...

You knew about this since you were a graduate student, and only visited just now? How did that happen?

RichardM said...

Since it is a research facility, tours seem to be reserved for funding agencies and politicians. Others are admitted if their research requires it. It was closed for a while when the ceiling started to drop due to warming within the tunnel.

Geoff James said...

What an amazing tour. Are there any signs of the permafrost breaking down like some spots in Siberia?

RichardM said...

It was an interesting facility. Permafrost is disappearing everywhere. At a local test site, they cleared the ground and the ground thawed to a depth of 20M. The initial depth was 1/2M.

SonjaM said...

Oh wow, that's not good!