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Cold vibrations: Researchers to study the movement of thawing Arctic permafrost

 With rising temperatures in the Arctic, communities in Alaska’s North Slope Borough are seeing the ground beneath their feet melt away. 

“Climate change is thawing the frozen soil,” said Ming Xiao, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Penn State. “The borough spends $100 million a year just for repairs to roads, buildings and pipelines. To build resilient infrastructure in the changing Arctic, we need to understand how the soil behaves as it softens.”

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The first phase of the project is to bury a 1.5-kilometer fiber-optic cable