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TitlePeriglacial landforms of the Grays Bay Road corridor region, Nunavut, and implications for climate-resilient infrastructure
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorMorse, P DORCID logo; Smith, S LORCID logo; Parker, R JORCID logo
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Scientific Presentation 123, 2021, 1 sheet, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
MeetingArctic Change 2020 Conference; December 7-10, 2020
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is related to Paraglacial and paraperiglacial landform-sediment assemblages of the Grays Bay Road corridor region, NU, and implications for climate-resilient infrastructure
File formatpdf
NTS76E; 76L; 76M
AreaGrays Bay
Lat/Long WENS-112.0000 -110.0000 68.0000 65.5000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geophysics; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; Health and Safety; engineering geology; permafrost; ground ice; massive ice; periglacial features; ice-wedge polygons; landforms; sediments; climate effects; sediment stability; ground temperatures; subsidence; sediment transport; drainage; models; creep; remote sensing; satellite imagery; Canadian Shield; Slave Province; ArcticDEM; Climate change; Northern Canada; permafrost thaw; Infrastructures; glaciofluvial sediments; Digital elevation data
Illustrationslocation maps; satellite images; geoscientific sketch maps; bar graphs; photographs
ProgramClimate Change Geoscience Permafrost
Released2021 06 14
Knowledge of permafrost conditions is required to develop climate-resilient northern infrastructure and to identify potential geohazards. Where present, permafrost constitutes a landscape foundation. Its stability and integrity are controlled by ground temperatures, surficial and bedrock materials, and ice contents, which are, in turn, a function of landscape history. The effects of permafrost thaw include decreased load bearing capacity, ground surface settlement, and increased transport of sediment and water (melted ice). In rapidly changing northern climates, these adjustments to thaw can be major geohazards for northern infrastructure, but with differential effects due to the often-heterogeneous distribution of surficial materials. Development of climate-resilient northern infrastructure can benefit from a holistic landsystem approach, which attempts to understand how a landscape was formed by investigating the collection of landforms and sediments within it. Our research considers paraglacial and paraperiglacial landform-sediment assemblages (not landforms or sediments in isolation) that constitute the landscape of northern Slave Geological Province and attempts to link them to the processes that formed them. The goal is to enable inferences on past and future landscape evolution supported by process-form models established from contemporary examples, in a region where very little is known about permafrost conditions. Here we present newly mapped landform-sediment assemblages, and patterns in their spatial distribution, for 72% of the 1600 km2 area that is within 5 km of the proposed Grays Bay Road corridor. In combination with sparse sedimentological and cryostratigraphic records, we develop a set of preliminary process-form models. One notable landform-sediment assemblage is glaciofluvial deposits over massive ice, dissected by ice-wedge polygons. Exhibiting long-term creep, this assemblage likely has the highest potential for thermal adjustment, and represents a substantial potential geohazard in this region that needs to be considered in planning climate-resilient infrastructure.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Knowledge of permafrost conditions is required to develop climate-resilient northern infrastructure and to identify potential geological hazards. This poster presents a summary of preliminary permafrost mapping within in the vicinity of the proposed Grays Bay Road and Port Project, northern Slave Geological Province, Nunavut, a region where very little is known about permafrost conditions. A potential geohazard associated with glacial deposits modified by permafrost processes is identified.

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