American Experience

The Alaska Pipeline's Permafrost Challenge

Clip: Season 18 | 37s

The oilmen planned to build the Alaska pipeline the same way they'd built every other pipeline in the world -- dig a ditch and bury it. This would not work in the arctic. Beneath a thin, insulating cover of tundra and vegetation, much of Alaska sits on permanently frozen ground called permafrost. In some places, it's mostly gravel, but in others it's mostly ice.

Aired: 05/15/06

Rating: NR

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