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TitleA history of water and ice: a field guide to permafrost and environmental change in the Yellowknife area, Northwest Territories
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AuthorWolfe, S A; Kokelj, S V
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 8530, 2019, 53 pages, https://doi.org/10.4095/315145 (Open Access)
Image
Year2019
Alt SeriesNorthwest Territories Geological Survey, NWT Open Report 2019-013
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
PublisherGovernment of Northwest Territories
Documentopen file
Lang.English
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®)
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
NTS85F/07; 85F/08; 85F/09; 85F/10
AreaYellowknife; Great Slave Lake; Yellowknife Bay; Yellowknife River; Beker Creek
Lat/Long WENS-114.5000 -114.2500 62.5500 62.4250
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; hydrogeology; regional geology; educational geology; geophysics; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; permafrost; ground ice; ice; ice lenses; periglacial features; aufeis; ground temperatures; hydrologic environment; hydrologic properties; environmental analysis; environmental impacts; climate; climate effects; temperature; geological history; glacial history; isostatic rebound; glaciation; ice sheets; Wisconsinian glacial stage; proglacial lakes; deglaciation; shoreline changes; emergence; water levels; sediments; organic deposits; beach deposits; sands; silts; clays; vegetation; peatlands; boreholes; displacement; remote sensing; satellite imagery; radar methods; photogrammetric techniques; airphoto interpretation; bedrock geology; Glacial Lake McConnell; Great Slave Lowland; Laurentide Ice Sheet; Ancestral Great Slave Lake; Canadian Shield; Slave Geological Province; Great Slave Upland; water; climate change; permafrost thaw; anthropogenic impacts; infrastructures; road networks; bridges; active layer; lathalsas; landscape evolution; northern Canada; permafrost thickness; forests; permafrost degradation; glaciofluvial sediments; glaciolacustrine sediments; alluvial sediments; DinSAR; synthetic aperture radar surveys (SAR); RADARSAT-2; icings; geological hazards; ponding; anthropogenic deposits; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary
Illustrationsphotographs; geoscientific sketch maps; schematic cross-sections; profiles; location maps; correlation sections; schematic representations; time series; bar graphs; satellite images; histograms; lithologic sections; aerial photographs
ProgramPermafrost, Climate Change Geoscience
ProgramPolar Continental Shelf Program
Released2019 11 13
AbstractPermafrost is a fundamental component of northern landscapes and is inextricably linked to climate. The changing state of permafrost due to global warming has heightened its environmental and societal relevance. Permafrost refers to soils and rock that remains below 0°C, or commonly considered “frozen”, year-over-year, and it affects most of the terrain in the northern half of Canada. For thousands of years, permafrost has affected the landscape around Yellowknife. The occurrence and characteristics of permafrost in this region intimately relate to the history of glacial ice sheets and glacial lakes, which have had a dominant influence on the evolution of this landscape. Knowledge of the connections between permafrost conditions, climate, and geological history highlights why northern landscapes are now amongst the most dynamic on earth.
The purpose of this guidebook is to describe the influence of permafrost on landscape of the Yellowknife region, and to illustrate how our geological legacy has shaped the land that we live on today. It is increasingly evident that permafrost, which provides a foundation for northern ecosystems and communities, is not permanent. In many areas, permafrost is thawing in response to natural environmental disturbances, due to human activity through the development of infrastructure, and by climate warming. Understanding how these changes impact the environment and infrastructure are critical to the resilience of northern society.
This guidebook provides an overview of the environmental and permafrost conditions in the Yellowknife area. Part I describes the characteristics of permafrost and its influence on the environment and on northerners. Part II describes the landscape around Yellowknife, highlighting the legacy of Glacial Lake McConnell and its imprint on the present day geography and permafrost conditions of the Great Slave Lowland region. Part III presents a tour of Yellowknife and the surrounding region, describing field stops that illustrate landscape history, local permafrost conditions, and the consequences of permafrost thaw.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The purpose of this guidebook is to describe permafrost in the Yellowknife region and to illustrate how our geological legacy affects the land that we live on today. It is now evident that permafrost, which provides foundation for northern ecosystems and communities, is not permanent. In many areas, permafrost is thawing in response to natural environmental disturbances, by human activity through the development of infrastructure, and by climate warming. Understanding how these changes impact environment and infrastructure are critical to the resilience of northern society.
GEOSCAN ID315145