Warnings of environmental damage as work begins to stabilise 810-foot section
Supports holding-up a section of the oil pipeline are suspected of having shifted, or at worst — twisted, as the thawing of the Alsakan permafrost alters the terrain.
In what appears to be first sign of “slope creep”, experts and officials from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources are expecting further shifting of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline’s supports.
Work to install roughly 100 thermosyphons – tubes that cool the permafrost supporting the Trans-Alaska pipeline — started only last month and will take 120 days to carry out.
As NBC News reported on Sunday, the work was approved by the natural resources department in an attempt at keeping the slope frozen, and to prevent further structural damage.
The installation of the thermosyphons was first proposed in a 2020 report on the oil pipeline, which is among the world’s longest, and follows a rise in permafrost temperatures by 3.5F in recent decades, according to NBC.
Permfrost, which is ground frozen for at least two years, is found beneath 85 per cent of the state but is warming along with rising temperature.