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Tue Jun 24, 2014, 08:06 AM

As frozen debris field slides toward Dalton Highway, state makes plans to move road

http://www.adn.com/2014/06/23/3530983/as-frozen-debris-field-slides.html?sp=/99/188/



As of August 2013, the frozen debris field was 189 feet from the Dalton Highway shoulder.

As frozen debris field slides toward Dalton Highway, state makes plans to move road
By Dermot Cole
June 23, 2014 Updated 7 hours ago

FAIRBANKS -- The state plans to move a 2,000-foot section of the Dalton Highway in 2017, hoping to delay a collision of geologic proportions.

A moving mass of frozen debris -- about 80 feet deep, 600 feet wide and a mile long -- continues to inch downhill toward the highway, both winter and summer, sweeping away everything in its path. Researchers theorize that the giant blob is sliding year-round atop a layer of water that remains a liquid despite the permafrost because it is under high pressure.

It may take five to 10 years for the "frozen debris lobe" to reach the road at its current pace of several inches per week, but a similar formation three miles away has been clocked at 125 feet a year, almost fast enough for someone to hear the rocks move.

If the debris pile near Mile 219 of the Dalton Highway accelerates to that speed for some reason, the road and the trans-Alaska pipeline could quickly be placed between a rock and a hard place.

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