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The Natural Environment

Rivers and Lakes

Low precipitation is characteristic of the Arctic, so large and elaborate river and lake systems are rare. In many places, however, permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil) restricts the downward drainage of meltwater from snow, and the water accumulates on the surface as shallow lakes, ponds, and marshes. In addition, rivers from more humid regions flow seaward across the dry Arctic terrain. Several large rivers are in the Russian Arctic, and the Mackenzie and Yukon rivers are in North America.

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