Permafrost

This passage is about something in Alaska called "permafrost," which means that the ground is always frozen. This causes problems for the people in Alaska.

Lexile Level: 470L

Categories: People & Places Animals & Nature


Houses are collapsing. Trees are falling over. Giant holes are forming in the streets. Buildings are leaning to the side. There hasn't been an earthquake. This is the scene during springtime in Alaska. It has many Alaskans worried. Alaska hasn't always been this way. Around 85 percent of its land surface has permafrost. Permafrost is a mix of the words "permanent" and "frost." It means the ground is always frozen. It is even frozen in summer. That is, until now. Record-breaking warm temperatures are causing things to change. Alaska's permafrost is thawing. Permafrost supports everything above ground. When it melts, the ground can't support trees, houses, buildings, or roads. Everything falls down. This is bad news for Alaskan villages. Many villages are built over permafrost. The village of Shishmaref is an example of what the future might hold. Because of melting permafrost, the U.S. government is making all the villagers move.


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