Some 1350 pingos (ice-cored hills) dot the coastline near Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. The largest, Ibyuk Pingo, is 16 stories high – a real landmark on the flat coastal plain.
For centuries pingos have been used by Inuvialuit for navigation and as lookout points for hunting. Visitors to Tuk can’t miss these imposing hills, and eight of these massive hills form the Pingo Canadian Landmark, on the shore of the Beaufort Sea. Community tours may include a chilly visit to the interior of a pingo, where alternating layers of ice and soil are clearly visible, and where the ice is hollowed out into storage lockers – a place for community members to store frozen game through the summer.
Pingos originate in drained lakes, where groundwater seeps below the frozen surface, and forces it upward. The largest pingo is growing at the rate of about two centimeters a year.