Engineering: Underground Cold War

Up north around the Arctic Circle, scientists and engineers have been engaged for years in a cold war that knows no politics. From both sides of the Iron Curtain, volunteers enlist in the fight against a common enemy: permafrost, the iron-hard layer of dirt and rock bonded together by year-round ice. Permafrost underlies 20% of the earth's land area. It is 150 ft. thick at Fair banks, Alaska, more than 2,000 ft. thick beneath the Taimyr Peninsula in Russia. Permafrost blocks well shafts, freezes oil drills, makes water piping and sewage disposal costly, heaves up 5-ft. hummocks in airport...

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