What is permafrost?

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January 13, 2012 1:02AM

Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, a common feature of Polar

regions. There is an "active layer" at the surface of varying depth

which does melt during the summer when the temperature consistently

warms above freezing.

Permafrost is often rich in organic matter due to the slow rate

at which it decomposes in these climates. It also causes problems

for humans who try to build on it, who find that the ground that

supports their structures can shift dramatically underneath them as

the permafrost melts due to the heat generated by the buildings as

well as the warming Arctic.

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