Photos

Photographer's Note

”All I want for X-mas is my two front teeth!” Alternative title: "What a good joke!"

Well, so much for the humour about this hunter/trapper found on Svalbard (Spitsbergen).

Macabre? Not really. Here is the story:

Of many interesting objects to see at the Polar Museum in Tromso. The skeleton of this hunter/trapper is moved from the permafrost on Svalbard first to Oslo and later transferred to the Polar Museum. Not only the skeleton but also his clothing was in very fine condition after his burial in the permafrost.

To understand permafrost I will try to give an example: Take a bucket, fill it with earth, mix in a little water, stir and put the whole thing in your freezer for at least 2 years. After that take out the bucket and try to dig to the bottom of it. I think you will find it impossible, as the mass will be hard as stone. The permafrost covers all soil on Svalbard and only in the summer you will be able to dig some centimetres in the top of the ground. This mean that if, like here, you must do a burial, you can only dig some cm. down in the soil and the rest of the covering process will be to put stones on top. This is also why you will see in Longyearbyen, the largest village, on Svalbard that all pipelines is above the ground, not under it.

Here some basical facts of the permafrost:

Permafrost is not defined by soil moisture content, overlying snow cover, or location; it's defined solely by temperature. Any rock or soil remaining at or below 0° C for two or more years is permafrost. Permafrost can contain over 30 percent ice, or practically no ice at all. It can be overlain by several meters of snow, or little or no snow. Understanding permafrost is not only important to civil engineering and architecture, it's also a crucial part of studying global change and protecting the environment in cold regions.

About 37 percent of Northern Hemisphere permafrost occurs in western North America, mainly in Alaska and northern Canada, between 165°W and 60°W. Most permafrost occurs in the Eastern Hemisphere, mainly in Siberia and the Far East of Russia, northern Mongolia, northeastern China, the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau and surrounding mountains, between 60°E and 180°E (Zhang et al. 1999).

Looking for even more, try:
http://nsidc.org/sotc/permafrost.html

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)
449 UCB, University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449

About the pic: Shot, through a glass plate, at The Polar Museum, Tromso, cropped, run in NI, colouradjustment.

bodinux, sulucas, Xalkida, nbournas, ellie, Liekje, sadeik, rachelonthego, MLINES, Juniper has marked this note useful

Photo Information
Viewed: 4549
Points: 35
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Jack R Johanson (jrj) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4529 W: 494 N: 7430] (34843)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH