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Climate-driven permafrost thaw

Date:
February 17, 2017
Source:
Geological Society of America
Summary:
In bitter cold regions like northwestern Canada, permafrost has preserved relict ground-ice and vast glacial sedimentary stores in a quasi-stable state. These landscapes therefore retain a high potential for climate-driven transformation, say researchers.
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Megaslumps in fluvially incised hummocky moraine, Peel Plateau, northwestern Canada.
Credit: Image courtesy Steven V. Kokelj

In bitter cold regions like northwestern Canada, permafrost has preserved relict ground-ice and vast glacial sedimentary stores in a quasi-stable state. These landscapes therefore retain a high potential for climate-driven transformation.

In their open-access Geology article published online on 7 Feb. 2017, Steven Kokelj of the Northwest Territories Geological Survey and colleagues write that climate-driven renewal of deglaciation and potential postglacial permafrost landscape evolution has major implications for predicting the nature and trajectories of northern landscape change and the cascade of downstream impacts.

They show that mapping across 1.27 million square kilometers of northwestern Canada points to large thaw-induced slope disturbances (thaw slumps) that delineate the margins of former ice sheets. Recent intensification of this thaw slumping has mobilized primary glacial sediments, triggering a cascade of fluvial, lacustrine, and coastal effects.


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Journal Reference:

  1. Steven V. Kokelj, Trevor C. Lantz, Jon Tunnicliffe, Rebecca Segal, Denis Lacelle. Climate-driven thaw of permafrost preserved glacial landscapes, northwestern Canada. Geology, 2017; G38626.1 DOI: 10.1130/G38626.1

Cite This Page:

Geological Society of America. "Climate-driven permafrost thaw." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170217161021.htm>.
Geological Society of America. (2017, February 17). Climate-driven permafrost thaw. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 29, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170217161021.htm
Geological Society of America. "Climate-driven permafrost thaw." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170217161021.htm (accessed May 29, 2017).

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