Thermokarst activity in ice-rich permafrost soils is significant for a number of reasons: (1) it represents a major process of landscape evolution and sedimentary disturbance; (2) it provides an important geoindicator of global warming; and (3) it poses significant geotechnical problems. Although the causes, development and processes of thermokarst activity are manifold and often complex, it is clear both from the geological record and from observations during the last 100-150 years that projected global warming will generally cause thermokarst to intensify and spread. Such issues will become increasingly important to scientists, engineers and inhabitants of permafrost regions.

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