Reasons to Visit the Tundra

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Some areas of the alpine tundra have short periods without snow or frost.
Some areas of the alpine tundra have short periods without snow or frost. (Image: alaskan tundra image by Dave from Fotolia.com)

The tundra is the coldest biome, or type of landscape, in the world, according to experts at the University of Berkley. Low temperatures, permafrost, and little nutrients in the soil prevent most forms of vegetation from growing. The tundra offers some beautiful views and interesting wildlife for visitors willing to brave the arctic cold.

Tundra Wildlife

The tundra does not support a very wide range of wildlife due to a lack of vegetation, but the animals that do make their home in this region are very beautiful. Lemmings, arctic foxes, moose and polar bears all call the tundra home. Hunters may be interested in a unique caribou or moose hunt, according to the Tundratour North American Hunting and Fishing Adventures website. Companies like Tundra Buggy also provide tours to view polar bears in their natural environment.

Plants of the Tundra

The alpine tundra, located at high elevations around the world, supports dwarfed evergreen trees and tough shrubs. The arctic tundra around the world's poles features permafrost. Therefore, no major root systems can penetrate the ground, say the experts at the University of Berkeley. Despite these conditions, beautiful reindeer mosses, sedges, grasses and liverworts grow. You can see more than 400 varieties of flowers, many only found in the tundra, and an abundance of lichens.

Interesting Landforms

Because of the constant freezing temperatures, the land of the tundra has formed into unusual and one-of-a-kind shapes. The Biomes website at ThinkQuest says pingos are small hills formed by pools of underground water that grow as they freeze, forcing the ground upward. Large circles surrounded by rocky rings are frost boils, formed by thawed and refrozen water. Small hills and valleys form by water movement, and deep cracks filled with ice create geometric landforms known as polygons.

Midnight Sun

The Blue Planet Biomes website mentions one of the most popular reasons for visiting the freezing tundra region. In a phenomenon known as the midnight sun, areas of the tundra near the Arctic Circle receive up to 24 hours of sunlight each day during the summer. This constant sunlight disorientates visitors who stay longer than a day, and in winter, nights can last equally long.

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