Planet Earth

That Word You Heard: Pingo

Cold to the core.

By Lacy SchleyAug 7, 2017 5:00 AM
(Credit: Chad Edwards)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

There, off in the distance: It’s a mountain … it’s a hill … it’s a pingo! These mounds may appear mundane, but beneath their earthy exterior is a core of ice. Sometimes called hydrolaccoliths, pingos typically form in arctic regions, like Siberia and northern Canada. In such frigid climates, groundwater collects and freezes, amassing ice beneath the surface that eventually forces the ground up. They can reach heights of over 170 feet, and if the core melts, they can leave behind giant sinkholes — a popular explanation among experts for the mysterious Siberian sinkholes that made headlines back in 2014.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.