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TitleTRAILS - ITH: collaborative geoscience to support infrastructure management in a changing North
AuthorMorse, P D; Kokelj, S V
Source2017 Yellowknife Geoscience Forum, abstract and summary volume; Northwest Territories Geological Survey, Yellowknife Geoscience Forum Abstracts Volume 2017, 2017 p. 53-54
LinksOnline - En direct (complete volume - volume complet, 1.69 MB)
Year2017
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180069
PublisherNorthwest Territories Geological Survey
Meeting45th Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum; Yellowknife, NT; CA; November 14-16, 2017
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
NTS107B/07; 107B/10; 107B/15; 107B/16; 107C/01; 107C/02; 107C/07; 107C/08
AreaCanadian Arctic; Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway
Lat/Long WENS-134.0000 -132.5000 69.5000 68.2500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; engineering geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; geophysics; climate; permafrost; ground ice; hydrologic environment; drainage systems; ecology; transportation; thermal regimes; ground temperatures; sediments; boreholes; Transportation Resilience in the Arctic Informed by Landscape Systems (TRAILS); climate change; infrastructures; permafrost thaw; landscape change; management; decision making; terrain sensitivity; monitoring; geotechnical properties; geological mapping; LiDAR; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary
ProgramPermafrost, Climate Change Geoscience
AbstractPermafrost evolution of the western Canadian Arctic landscape is subject to unprecedented transformative pressures. Climate-driven thaw is accelerating geomorphic changes, altering hydrological systems, and affecting nutrient and carbon cycles, all of which have ecological and societal implications. As well, the new Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway (ITH) represents the largest manipulation of surface conditions in the region. In this heterogeneous, ice-rich permafrost environment, the nature of responses to these pressures, will vary with geotechnical and thermal properties of subsurface materials and landscape factors.
The Transportation Resilience in the Arctic Informed by Landscape Systems (TRAILS) activity, funded by the Climate Change Geoscience Program, NRCan, operates in partnership with Northwest Territories Geological Survey to conduct innovative permafrost research with territorial and academic partners to address questions regarding landscape change and inform infrastructure management decisions. TRAILS - ITH treats the ITH as a landscape transect for conducting multidisciplinary research on permafrost thermal conditions, terrain sensitivity, and climate change impacts on terrain and infrastructure. The research is predicated on the development of high-quality surficial geology and terrain maps, assessment of subsurface ground ice and material properties, monitoring and summary of ground thermal data, and data availability.
The first goal of this project is to work with partners to consolidate available ground temperature and geotechnical data. Secondly, we aim to improve permafrost terrain and surficial geology maps. Third, we will support the analysis and synthesis of ground ice data. The project will also analyse ground thermal data from across the treeline transition, examine local scale variability with respect to natural gradients and infrastructure, and support permafrost modelling to examine future scenarios. Finally, the project will synthesize these datasets to re-examine the role of glacial legacy and post-glacial landscape modifications on contemporary terrain sensitivity and embankment performance. Two early research activities relate to borehole and terrain mapping projects.
In February 2017, 16 thermally-instrumented boreholes were established. Multiple proxies collected are aimed at examining the suite of subsurface ground ice, geotechnical, carbon and geochemical conditions encountered across a range of environments representing ice-marginal moraine, lacustrine plain and riparian areas. This investigation revealed massive ice juxtaposed against ice-poor granular deposits; organic deposits, up to 4-5 m thick in tundra, overtop of ice-rich lacustrine deposits; and ice-poor gravels laid down on relatively near-surface silty shale. Together these data illustrate the heterogeneity implicit in this glaciated and post glacially modified landscape. Quaternary deposits and Holocene environmental history exert strong control over landscape variation and the physical, geochemical, and carbon characteristics of permafrost. Geochemical and carbon flux changes can be anticipated under warming climate conditions or as a result of physical disturbance such as quarry activities.
In May 2017, a terrain mapping exercise was initiated using very high-resolution imagery and LiDAR data to identify surficial geomorphological features and landscape types within 5 km of the ITH. These data will provide an important platform for understanding ground ice distribution and testing/validating remote sensing tools, and will facilitate assessment of landscape change and revision of the local surficial geology.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The purpose of the GSC's collaborative Transportation Resilience in the Arctic Informed by Landscape Systems (TRAILS) activity is to conduct cutting edge permafrost research with Territorial and Academic partners to address questions regarding permafrost landscape change and inform infrastructure management decisions. TRAILS - ITH focuses on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, treating it as a landscape transect for conducting multidisciplinary research on permafrost thermal conditions, terrain sensitivity, and climate change impacts on terrain and infrastructure. The research is predicated on development of high quality surficial and terrain maps, assessment of subsurface ground ice and material properties, monitoring and summary of ground thermal data, and data availability. Two main research activities at this point are discussed that stem from borehole and terrain mapping projects.
GEOSCAN ID308273