Why the People of Longyearbyen, Norway Are Forbidden to Bury Their Dead In Their Town

In a frosty episode of Half As Interesting, the narrator explains the reason why Longyearbyen, Norway, one of the northernmost places in the world, does not allow for the dead to be buried in their town and instead, sends them south to the much warmer Oslo. This seemingly cruel act actually has a very good reason behind it. Because the ground in Longyearbyen is in a constant state of permafrost, not only the buried body is preserved, but the disease that killed that person.

You can find out that permafrost is where the ground stays below freezing permanently… Longyearbyen always be below freezing below ground which happens to be where you put dead bodies…In what came to be known as the Spanish flu pandemic, of the up to 100 million individuals who died, eleven were in Longyearbyen …when you put a corpse into a giant underground freezer it turns out that you don’t just preserve the body but you also preserve the viruses inside the body.