Hidden beneath the Arctic surface, worrying changes are underway as the ground warms and long-frozen soil comes to life. Ecologist Mark Lara has spent years studying these permafrost landscapes. In a new article, he takes you into a world where giant lakes disappear in a matter of days and vast fields sink into miles of polygon shapes. These landscape changes are manifestations of greater transformations happening below the surface – ones that hold consequences for humanity.

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  • Stacy Morford

    Environment + Climate Editor

    Permafrost and ice wedges have built up over millennia in the Arctic. When they thaw, they destabilize the surrounding landscape. Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

    Thawing permafrost is roiling the Arctic landscape, driven by a hidden world of changes beneath the surface as the climate warms

    Mark J. Lara, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Ground is collapsing and massive lakes are draining in a matter of days. Thawing permafrost is having profound effects on the region and its infrastructure.

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