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TitleGeomorphologic feature mapping methodology developed for the Dempster Highway and Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway corridors
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorSladen, W E; Parker, R J HORCID logo; Kokelj, S V; Morse, P DORCID logo
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Open File 8751, 2021, 56 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedNRCan photo(s) in this publication
RelatedThis publication is related to the following publications
File formatreadme
File formatpdf; rtf; py (Python® 2.7); docx (Microsoft® Word®)
ProvinceNorthwest Territories; Yukon
NTS106E/15; 106E/16; 106F/13; 106F/14; 106K/03; 106K/04; 106K/05; 106K/06; 106K/11; 106K/12; 106K/13; 106K/14; 106L/01; 106L/02; 106L/07; 106L/08; 106L/09; 106L/10; 106L/15; 106L/16; 106M/01; 106M/02; 106M/07; 106M/08; 106M/09; 106M/10; 106M/15; 106M/16; 106N/03; 106N/04; 106N/05; 106N/06; 106N/11; 106N/12; 106N/13; 106N/14; 107B/02; 107B/03; 107B/06; 107B/07; 107B/10; 107B/11; 107B/14; 107B/15; 107C/02; 107C/03; 107C/06; 107C/07
AreaInuvik; Tuktoyaktuk; Fort McPherson; Eagle Plains; Dawson; Arctic Ocean
Lat/Long WENS-135.0000 -133.0000 69.5000 65.7500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; Transport; geophysics; hydrogeology; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; mapping techniques; terrain sensitivity; permafrost; ground ice; periglacial features; thermokarst; climate; landslides; mass wasting; remote sensing; satellite imagery; hydrologic environment; drainage; Canadian Cordillera; Interior Plains; Arctic Coastal Plain; Canadian Digital Elevation Model; Dempster Highway; Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway; Methodology; Infrastructures; Road networks; Climate change; permafrost thaw; Geographic data; Geographic information systems; Digitization
Illustrationslocation maps; geoscientific sketch maps; profiles; tables; photographs; satellite images; bar graphs
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience Permafrost
Released2021 04 27
AbstractThaw of permafrost and associated ground ice can reduce ground stability, modify terrain, and reconfigure drainage patterns. This, in turn, can affect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and present challenges to northern societies. Permafrost change can have a significant influence on the integrity of ground-based transportation infrastructure, which is critical to northern communities. The geomorphic landscape can indicate ground ice presence and thaw susceptibility.
In 2017, the Geological Survey of Canada and the Northwest Territories Geological Survey collaboratively developed a robust methodology to classify and digitize geomorphic features in permafrost terrain using high-resolution imagery. A 10-km wide corridor centred on the Dempster Highway and Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway was used to develop and test the methodology. The 875-km-long corridor traverses a variety of geological and physiographic terrain types, including glaciated and non-glaciated terrain. Permafrost here is continuous. However, variation in climate, relief, ecology, and disturbance have produced a diverse range of periglacial conditions. We selected five test sections representative of terrain along the study corridor. The main geomorphic categories are mass movement, hydrological, and periglacial. We used high-resolution (0.6 m) satellite imagery to generate stereo pairs for 3D visualization. Geomorphic features were digitized in ArcGIS. We customized Python scripts to populate the attributes for each geomorphic feature. This Open File provides a background on the physical context and physiographic terrain of the study corridor. The report presents the geomorphic feature identification and digitization methodology and summarizes the results from the test section mapping and its limitations.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Permafrost is ground that remains frozen for 2 years or more. Thawing of ice-rich permafrost can result in uneven settlement of the ground surface, mass wasting, and lake drainage or enlargement, which has impacts on the environment, hydrology, and infrastructure. Landscape features can indicate the presence of ground ice and thaw susceptibility. A methodology has been developed to map permafrost, mass-wasting, and permafrost-thaw features along a 10-km-wide corridor centred on the Dempster and Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk highways. This 875-km long corridor traverses a variety of geological and physiographic terrain types, including glaciated and non-glaciated landscapes. In addition to generating critical geoscience data for this region, the methodology can be applied to other fine scale permafrost terrain or hazard mapping projects. The methodology will support other research projects at local and site-specific scales, and risk assessment along northern highways. This report presents the methodology for geomorphic feature identification and digitization.

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