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Thaw Lakes - No Diving, Please

Underlying the Arctic plains is a thick, unbroken layer of permafrost. Water that melts on top of the permafrost collects into what are called "thaw lakes".

These landforms result from thawing of ice-rich permafrost or the melting of snow and ice, but the frozen ground underneath prevents the water from draining away.

Water pools in a depression and its presence begins to further thaw the permafrost underneath and along the lake edges, gradually extending the lake.

Most of the thaw lakes along the Arctic Coastal Plain are less than 8 feet / 2 meters deep, the approximate depth of freezing during the winter, and as a result, they freeze solidly to the bottom, or nearly so.

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