Many closed-system pingos are underlain by sub-pingo water lenses, and the same is probably true of numerous open-system pingos. In the early growth stage the bending of the frozen overburden of a pingo by a sub-pingo water lens can be compared to the bending of a thin elastic plate. Although the assumptions of elastic plate theory do not apply fully to a growing pingo, because time-dependent plastic and creep deformation are involved, the application of elastic plate theory nevertheless helps to explain the peripheral normal faulting and spring flow of pingos, summit failure, the ease with which elongated pingos appear to collapse, and the changing roles played by the radius and overburden thickness of pingos from early growth to the cessation of growth.

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