It's about the oddest landform you'll ever see:
For eons they have risen like sentinels:
If you promise not to tell, we'll let you in on our secret.
Here's why the pingos of the Northwest Territories will put you on top of the world.
“Pingo” is Inuvialuit for small hill. The word has been used by scientists since 1938, beginning with the Arctic botanist Alf Porsild. We’re thankful Porsild popularized “pingo” instead of the alternate name, hydrolaccolith. In fact, Porsild Pingo, near Tuktoyaktuk, is named in his honour.
Pingos can be as big as a football stadium – up to 70 metres tall, with a circumference exceeding half a kilometre.
For eons, the Inuvialuit of the Arctic coast have used pingos as navigational aides. They also serve as a useful lookout when searching the tundra for caribou or scanning the sea for seals and whales.
To experience pingos for yourself, plan a trip to Tuktoyaktuk. Day excursion are available by air from Inuvik – or, this fall, you will be able to drive there on the new Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway.