Ten miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska, deep in the recesses of an excavated hillside, geochemist Thomas Douglas brandishes a 20,000 year-old stick with the kind of enthusiasm that can only be mustered by a scientist.
“There’s something really special about this place,” he says, surveying the narrow, 360-foot long, eight-foot high passage known as the Permafrost Tunnel.
The Permafrost Tunnel, a research facility constructed and operated by the US Army, was built between 1963 and 1969. Today, researchers come here to study everything from mining and geotechnical engineering to paleontology and geocryology. Even NASA scientists come here to test out machinery intended for Mars.
In 2016, I visited the tunnel, publishing a photo essay in VICE.