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Polar Husky A to Z

 

PINGO

 

Pingos are the cone-shaped hills that occur in areas of permanent permafrost in Siberia, Greenland, Alaska and Arctic Canada. Some rise 150 feet (45m) above the surrounding tundra and are 985 (300m) or more in diameter.

Pingo is an inuit word meaning "hill."

No matter how big or small a pingo is, each one has a core of pure ice, and it is this heart of solid ice that distinguishes a pingo from a ordinary hill.

Pingos are a result of water - a lake for instance - placed on permafrost, where the top layer of water freezes. From the wind, which blows everything around, earth and plant growth gather on top of the frozen water/lake and makes a lid. The water between the permafrost and the ice-earth lid will at some point freeze, and in this process it will be pressed upward and a pingo is born.

Long before the freezer was invented Inuit people used pingos to store food in, just like as huge "walk in" freezer. They dug into the pingos and made chambers where they saved all the meat they collected from hunting. Here the meat could freeze and stay fresh until they needed it again, and at the same time it was protected from animals eating it.

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