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How to Dig in Frozen Soil

Soil in cold climates, such as the tundra, can be as difficult to dig through as concrete, particularly during the winter season. Unfortunately, digging in frozen soil is necessary for burial purposes or creating ditches. Some scientists and technicians also must dig through permafrost -- a hard, permanently frozen layer of soil located underneath the top layer -- to explore locations with cold temperatures year-round.

Things You'll Need

  • Black plastic sheet
  • Hatchet or jackhammer
  • Shovel or spade
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    • 1

      Build a small fire over the spot you intend to dig through to raise the soil's temperature and melt frost. For larger areas, spread a black plastic sheet over the ground. The dark color absorbs sunlight and raises the temperature. Leave the sheet on the ground for as long as possible before digging.

    • 2

      Break up hard soil into smaller chunks with a hatchet or jackhammer.

    • 3

      Remove the chunks of soil with a shovel or spade.