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MAIN PAGE > Journal "Arctic and Antarctica" > Rubric "Permafrost and ground ice of the Arctic"
Permafrost and ground ice of the Arctic
Khimenkov A.N., Stanilovskaya J.V., Sergeev D.O., Vlasov A.N., Volkov-Bogorodskii D.B., Merzlyakov V - The development of explosive process in cryolithic zone due to formation of Yamal Crater pp. 13-37

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.4.25094

Abstract: The subject of this research is the natural explosive processes into cryolithic zones. The object of this research is the Yamal Crater. The authors meticulously examine the groups of the natural explosive processes in the territory of distribution of permafrost. A new approach towards the theory of the crater of gaseous discharge is proposed. It is based on the migration mechanism of gas fluids from the zones of gas hydrates disassociation into the overlying thickness of permafrost. The dissociation zone forms in segments of the local heatup through the heat input from the top. The authors demonstrate the gradualism of processes of preparing the explosive process that formed the Yamal Crater, as well as calculate the pressure of ejection of the frozen layer in emergence of the Yamal Crater. The work provides characteristic to the four phases of preparation of the natural explosive processes, considers various scenarios of such in cryolithic zone, as well as creation of the model of the heat and mass transfer processes alongside tense and distorted situation in permafrost that contain gas hydrated in terms of temperature variation and pressure. The following conclusions were made: the explosions of hydrolaccoliths and emergence of the craters of gaseous discharge belong to the same group of processes – physical explosions of natural origin; preparation of explosive processes in permafrost passes through several stages; in preparing explosions of natural origin in permafrost, a significant role is played by the migration of gas fluids.
Vasil'chuk Y.K., Budantseva N.A., Chizhova J.N. - Rapid palsa degradation near Abez' settlement, northeast of European Russia pp. 30-52

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.3.24432

Abstract: The object of the study is the palsa located near Abez' settlement, in the Komi Republic, the northeast of European Russia. The authors re-examined the palsa in 2001, 2016 and 2017. The main research methods were: scrutinous fixation of the palsa morphology and its comparison with the photographs of different years; radiocarbon dating of peat; study of stable carbon isotopes in peat profiles. In 15 years' time, almost complete degradation of the palsa is observed. The height of the palsa has reduced by more than 2 m. Now their height does not exceed 1.5 m. During the period of 1960-2015, the average annual air temperature at nearby meteorological stations had been increasing by 2° C averagely. The most probable reason for the rapid degradation of the palsa in the area of Abez' settlement is a combination of a positive climatic trend and significant draining of the lake-marsh basin as a result of the construction of the Bovanenkovo-Ukhta gas pipeline, which crosses the southern part of the palsa. It is shown that the palsa in the southern regions - in the area of the Bugry Polyarnye and Nikita stations - have no signs of degradation.
Budantseva N.A., Vasil'chuk J.Y., Maslakov A.A., Vasil'chuk A.C., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Chemical composition of Holocene ice wedges in the northeast of Chukotka pp. 34-53

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.2.22980

Abstract: The Chukchi Peninsula or Chukotka Peninsula at about 66° N 172° W, is the eastmost peninsula of Asia. Its eastern end is at Cape Dezhnev near the village of Uelen. It is bordered by the Chukchi Sea to the north, the Bering Sea to the south, and the Bering Strait to the east. Most of the Chukchi Peninsula is occupied by highlands up to 1000 m a.s.l height. Lowlands are found, as a rule, near large lagoons. The main features of the area (from Anadyr' town to Lavrentiya) are represented by a slightly hilly relief formed by fluvial erosion and marine abrasion of the Mesozoic blocks. For the determination of the ion composition of ice wedges, ice samples were taken both horizontally with an interval of 10-12 cm and vertically with an interval of 10-15 cm. The ion composition of the ice was analyzed by ion chromatography method in the geochemistry laboratory of the Department of Landscape Geochemistry and Soil Geography of the Faculty of Geography of Lomonosov Moscow State University on the ion chromatograph "Stayer". The detection limit for chloride ion was 0.02 mg / l. The hydrochemical composition of snow, rivers and lakes water, segregated ice and partly of ice wedges was carried out in the hydrochemical laboratory of PNIIIS by acid-base titration. Continuous permafrost occurs everywhere beneath the ground surface. Taliks (up to 30-40 m thick) often occur underneath the largest thermokarst lakes and in the and under the lower reaches of large rivers. The temperature of the permafrost averages -10 ° C in the axial parts of the mountain ridges and -4 ... -6 ° C in river valleys and on the coasts. The thickness of the permafrost varies from 500-700 m in the highest parts of the ridges to 200-300 m in the interior valleys.
Budantseva N.A., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Weighting of isotopic composition of ice-wedge casts of Central Yakutia due to active evaporation of surface waters pp. 53-68

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.3.24541

Abstract: The research object is the isotopic composition of oxygen and hydrogen of ice-wedge casts, surface waters and atmospheric precipitation in Central Yakutia near the Mammoth Mountain, where the conditions are favourable in summer for evaporation and continental salinization of permafrost and subsurface ice. Special attention is given to the analysis of high indexes of isotopic composition of ice-wedge casts of the late Pleistocene, which can’t be explained by higher winter temperatures during the formation of ice wedges. The authors use hydrochemical data showing the signs of continental salinization in the fragments of wedges with heavy isotope composition. The main research method is the definition of isotopic composition of oxygen and hydrogen in the ice. In graphic form, one of the indicators of evaporation is the evaporation line, whose inclination on the dependency diagram δ18О – δ2Н is around 5. The authors show that continental salinization of the landscapes of Central Yakutia can be explained by the combination of the processes of perennial freezing of sediments and evaporation during summer seasons. The authors design the system of indexes of continental salinization of cryogenic lacustrine-boggy landscapes on the basis of isotopic and hydrochemical data of surface waters and subsurface ice: 1 – abnormal heavy isotopic composition; 2 – isotopic composition indexes are on the evaporation line, whose angle of inclination (usually lower than 5) is lower that the angle of inclination of the global meteoric water line (8); 3 – high salinity of ice-wedge casts and sediments with prevailing continental salts. The obtained results are accurate and can be easily reproduced by any isotope laboratory in the world. 
Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Cyclocryostratigraphy of yedoma. Part 2 pp. 54-99

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.2.22328

Abstract: The author shows that the purpose of cyclocryostratigraphy is to determine, characterize and interpret periodic or quasiperiodic variations in the cryostratigraphy of permafrost sections (mainly syncriogenic ones) and their use for refining the features of the formation of permafrost. The author formulates the concept of cryocyclitis as a complex of permafrost layers and their associations with ice wedges, characterized by the direction and continuity of the change in the cryostructures properties of the ground ice and its surrounding sediments, reflected in the location of the boundaries between them, which can be seen in a vertical section (in a borehole, outcrop, bore pit, etc.). The main research methods are the radiocarbon, stable isotope and geochemical ones. The study shows that often in the yedoma strata individual cyclites duplicate each other, thus demonstrating a continuous process. The author performs the cyclocryostratigraphic research of the structural features and development of the Late Pleistocene syngenetic ice wedge in the cyclical yedoma of the Asian Arctic: Western Siberia, Yakutia, Chukotka, Novosibirsk Islands, Alaska and northern Canada.Three cycles can be distinguished in the development of syngenetic ice wedges. Microcycles result from the changes in active-layer depth and the accumulation of a thin sedimentlayer over several years. Their vertical scale varies from centimetres to tens of centimetres, and their formation time ranges from one to hundreds of years. Mesocycles result from a change in the lake water level if ice-wedge formation took place on the banks or beneath shallow water. The vertical scale of mesocycles is a few metres, and their timescale usually varies from several hundred to a few thousand years. Macrocycles relate to a major change in the sedimentationregime or rarely – and mostly at the southern border of ice-wedge formation – with major climatic oscillations. The vertical scale of macrocycles numbers tens of metres, and their duration varies usually from many tens to sometimes hundreds of thousands of years.
Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Cyclocryostratigraphy of yedoma. Part 1. pp. 62-83

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.1.21546

Abstract: The author formulates a new line of research of permafrost and, in particular, homogeneous yedoma, - cyclocryostratigraphy. Cyclo-cryostratigraphy studies the rotation of different vertical frozen soil units of permafrost sediments in yedoma sections. The study demonstrates the cyclicity in the flysch formations in pre-Quaternary and Quaternary sediments on the Black Sea coast, near the Novomikhailovskoye settlement., in the Berriasian-Valanginian exposure near the village of Konakhkend, Azerbaijan, in the Eocene sediments of the Navagir range, the northwestern spurs of the Caucasus, the Abrau peninsula, in interstratifying sands and sandy loams in the Nagym section in the mouth of the Olenyok channel. The cyclicity in the vertical arrangement of pseudomorphs and subterranean veins outside the permafrost zone has been investigated. The main research methods are lithological, cryostratigraphical, radiocarbon, isotope, geochemical. The author detects cyclicity during the field research, and verifies its parameters with analytical determinations. The main results of the study include the successive transition from flysch cycles to the cyclicity of clays and cyclostratigraphic features of paleo-sections with pseudomorphs and ground vein. The author analyzes mesocyclic bedding of ground veins and pseudomorphs in the sections of Western Europe: Aschersleben in Germany, Kesselt, Remicourt and Harmignies in Belgium. The author analyzes stratification of pseudomorphs in the Late Pleistocene stratum in the Grove section in the north of the Netherlands. In the north of Italy, in the valley of the Po river, a multi-tier complex of pseudomorphs in loess strata is considered. A scheme for stratification of pseudomorphs in the Kotkino area on the left bank of the Soyma River, the tributary of the Pechora River, is considered.
Vasil'chuk Y.K., Vasil'chuk J.Y., Budantseva N.A., Vasil'chuk A.C., Trishin A.Y. - Isotopic and geochemical features of the Batagaika yedoma (preliminary results) pp. 69-98

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.3.24433

Abstract: The subject of the study is the yedoma, which is found in the Batagaika crater (67°34'49 "N, 134°46'19" E), located 10 km southeast of Batagay settlement, Verkhoyansk settlement, the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. The crater is located about 1.5 km downslope of the Kirgillyakh mountain; its absolute height is about 325 m. The main research methods are: fieldwork, analysis of oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopic composition, analysis of ion composition and content of dissolved forms of trace elements and their distribution in ice-wedges of the yedoma. Oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopic composition, ion composition and the content of the dissolved forms of minor and major elements were studied for the first time in ice-wedges of the Batagaika crater. It has been revealed that the ice-wedges of the Batagaika crater are of hydrocarbonate-calcium composition, a uniform content of minor and major elements is observed within each ice-wedge. The isotopic composition of the ice-wedges located in the upper (the average values of δ18O is –34.4‰, the value of δ2H is –266 ‰) and lower (the average value of δ18O is –35.7 ‰, the value of δ2H is –276‰) parts of the Batagaika crater indicates that the average January air palaeotemperature was from –51 to –55 °C.
Vasil'chuk A.C. - Palynospectra and chronology of Holocene polygonal wedge ices of Yamal Peninsula pp. 84-109

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.1.22323

Abstract: Holocene wedge ices are widespread within laidas, peat bogs and flood plains of lakes and rivers of the Yamal Peninsula. The aim of the paper is to study palynological characteristic of exposures of wedge ices located at different geomorphological levels. The author estimates realibility of radiocarbon dating of polygonal wedge ices of the base of palynological characteristic and considers the possibility of estimating the idiogenousness of wedge ices on the basis of comparison of palinospectra of wedge ices and their deposits. The author detects several stages of vegetation evolution in this region. The main approach to ice wedge complex study is based on the fact that palynospectra of ices and deposits represent different seasons of pollen accumulation. While subfossil palynospectrum is accumulated during the whole vegetation season and consisits both of local and regional peculiarities of land cover, palinospectra of wedge ices are formed of spring pollen rains and reflect mainly regional characteristics. Reliability of the radiocarbon dating is estimated according to the constitution of Pre-Quaternary pollen in the sample, because it indicates the constitution of aicient penecontemporaneous organic material in the sample indirectly. Main stages of vegetation cover development in Holocene are distinguished on the base of these studies.
Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Geochemical composition of ground ice of the Russian Arctic pp. 99-115

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2016.2.21378

Abstract: The paper studies the composition of water-soluble salts of ice wedges and massive ice of different regions of the Russian Arctic: Western Siberia, central and northern Yakutia, Chukotka. The research methodology is based on the fact, that the chemical composition of ground ice reflects the hydrochemical conditions of the period of ice formation or freezing and can serve as an important criterion for the reconstruction of a paleo-facial component in paleo-geocryological elaborations. To compare the ice of different regions, the author develops a hydro-chemical classification (systematization) of ground ice: ultra-fresh ice with mineralization less than 50 mg / l, fresh ice - 50-200 mg / l, desalted - 200-400 mg / l, light-salted - 400-1000 mg / l, mesohaline - 1000-5000 mg / l, highly saline - 5000 mg / l and more. The author finds out that ice mineralization is less than 0.05 g / l in more than a half of samples from the ice wedges in Chukotka, while the ice samples with the same mineralization reach only 16% of cases in Western Siberia and 14% of cases in Northern Yakutia. However, if we take a broader range – (mineralization less than 0.15 g / l), then the closest resemblance is observed. This range includes almost 100% of the analyzed samples in Chukotka, 89% in Western Siberia and 80% in Northern Yakutia. These findings suggest that though there are regional differences between the composition of salts in permafrost sediments of different Arctic regions of Eurasia (caused primarily by the uneven nature of air masses transport in wintertime and the different influence of seas and oceans), their similarity is much more significant. This manifests itself in low mineralization and dominance of hydrocarbons, indicating, most likely, the atmospheric nature of water that had fed ice wedges in the Late Pleistocene, in the Holocene and the present time. Certain findings of high-salt ice wedges in rare cases indicate the possibility of sea, lagoon and bog waters participation in the ice wedges formation in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene in the shallow water conditions. In the coastal areas high mineralization indicates the involvement of dead and salt-affected waters of seasonally thawed layer. Data on the hydrochemical composition of massive ice are often decisive for determining the genesis of ice layer. It had resulted in increase of salinity downward the massive ice section Ledyanaya Gora (Ice Mountain) in the Yenisei River valley, indicating the intra-ground origin of the ice. The lower horizons of massive ice in the New Siberian Archipelago formed syngenetically by the injection. Strongly mineralized (4700 mg / l) massive ice formed at epigenetic freezing process found in wells at great depths in the northern Urals and Pai-Khoi.
Chizhova J.N., Vasil'chuk Y.K. - Deuterium excess in the snow and glaciers of the Polar Ural and massive ice of the south of the Yamal Peninsula and the coast of Baydaratskaya Bay pp. 100-111

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.2.23342

Abstract: The subject of the study is the distribution of oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopes and the variations of the deuterium excess in snow and glaciers of the Polar Urals and massive ice of the south of the Yamal Peninsula and the coast of Baydaratskaya Bay. The isotope composition of winter snow and ice of the glacier No. 1, and the glacier of the Romantics was studied in the Polar Urals. On the south of the Yamal Peninsula, the isotopic characteristics of the massive ice in the valley of the Erkutayakha River, Oyuyakha River and at the mouth of the Sabettayakha River were analyzed. The massive ice of the autochthonous type should differ significantly in the isotopic composition of the ice from the buried ice. Isotopic characteristics of massive ice are a good tool for studying the conditions of the ice formation, which is due to the processes of isotope fractionation of oxygen and hydrogen during phase transitions, while the fractionation factor of vapor-water and water-ice transitions are determined by temperature. Variations of stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in massive ice and the δ2H -d-excess ratio are used as a diagnostic tool to determine the type of ice formation. In winter snow of the Polar Urals higher values of isotope composition is recorded with depth increase, reflecting the seasonality of snow accumulation. Very high values of the deuterium excess are recorded - from 14.3 to 19 ‰, the average value was 16.9 ‰. Values of the deuterium excess are distributed in antiphase with the distribution of heavy oxygen and hydrogen with depth. The values of δ18О in the ice of the glacier №1 range from -12.6 ‰ to -16.03 ‰, δ2H - from -96.7 ‰ to -115.1 ‰. The values of the deuterium excess in the ice of the glacier No. 1 are rather low, averaging 6-7 ‰, the highest value of d-excess is 13.1 ‰ the minimum value of d-excess = 4.7 ‰. For glacier ice No. 1, a negative slope δ2H-d-excess is noted, indicating congelation ice formation in a closed system (i.e., a limited volume of water). This can occur when a certain volume of thawed water in pores of the firn, when the firn mass, saturated with thawed water, turns into ice. The Romantik Glacier occupies in δ2H-d-excess ratio an intermediate position between the atmospheric precipitation (snow cover) and the ice of the glacier No. 1.Variations of stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in the massive ice on the Erkutayaha River in the southern part of the Yamal Peninsula are significant, and the δ2H-d-excess ratio is an evidence of mostly intra-soil injection ice formation, i.e. freezing of a limited volume of free water. The δ2H-d-excess ratios for massive ice at the mouth of the Oyuyakha River at the coast of Baydaratskaya Bay evidences that a powerful ice body could have been formed when a large volume of water was frozen in a closed system, as can be seen from the trend of decreasing of δ18O values down from the top. The non-explicit expression of the negative correlation of δ2H to d-excess may be due to the fact that the source of moisture was the surface water evaporated, or was characterized by less isotope fractionation than the theoretical one. The values of d-excess in ice are from 8.4 to -2.3 ‰ and indicate rather the intra-soil formation of ice. Variation of the δ2H-d-excess ratio in ice formation is an additional tool for diagnostic studies of massive ice genesis and types of ice formation.
Vasil'chuk Y.K., Shmelev D.G., Budantseva N.A., Cherbunina M.Y., Brouchkov A.V., Vasil'chuk A.C., Ch - Oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of the Mamontova Gora and Syrdakh syngenetic ice wedges and reconstruction of the Late Pleistocene winter palaeotemperatures in Central Yakutia pp. 112-135

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2017.2.23189

Abstract: The subject of the study is the Late Pleistocene and Holocene syngenetic ice wedges of the Mamontova Gora and Syrdakh outcrops and the reconstruction of winter temperatures of ice wedge formation periods. The main study objects are ice wedges over 7 m high in the upper part of the 50-60-meter heigh terrace of the Mamontova Gora, the ice wedges are surrounded by the 9-12 m thick lacustrine loamy sediments. The Holocene and modern ice wedges on the high flood plain of the Aldan River are also studied. In the thermoerosine ravine near Lake Syrdakh the Late Pleistocene ice wedges were also studied. The main research methods are the mass-spectrometry analysis of the oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of the Late Pleistocene, Holocene and modern ice wedges. Also a direct dating of microinnclusions of organics material from ice wedges by the AMS method in the Mamontova Gora was performed. New radiocarbon dates of organic matter from sediments surrounding and overlying of ice wedges has been obtained. Using the known ratios of mean winter and mean January temperatures with isotopic composition of ice wedges, the winter palaeotemperatures of Central Yakutia were reconstructed for key periods of the Late Pleistocene. The main conclusions of the study are: a) the mean winter air temperature during the majority of the period of formation of the Late Pleistocene ice wedges of the Mamontova Gora was in the range from -28 to -31 °C, the average January temperatures reached -42, -46 °C; b) in the Syrdach Lake region the winter conditions were slightly more severe: the mean winter temperature varied mainly from -30 to -32 ° C, the average January temperatures reached -44, -48 °C; c) in the Holocene, the average winter temperatures were higher: from -24 to -28 °C, and the mean January temperatures from -36 to -42 °C.
Budantseva N.A., Chizhova J.N., Vasil'chuk Y. - The reflection of mound landscapes development phases of Bolshezemelskaya tundra in the peat isotope composition pp. 124-138

DOI:
10.7256/2453-8922.2016.1.21420

Abstract: The research subject is the peat permafrost mounds on the northeast of Bolshezemelskaya tundra. The authors study the permafrost mounds at different stages of development – from the adolescent and growing to the mature and broken. The mature permafrost mounds are from 3 to 4,7 m high; some of them have the signs of primary breaking in the form of stains of bare peat or cavities on the surface. The height of adolescent permafrost mounds usually doesn’t exceed 1,5 – 2 m; the broken mounds look like peat mounds, surrounding the lows. The width of peat, superposing the mounds, varies from 0,8 to 1,2 m on mature mounds to 0,3-0,6 m on broken mounds. The authors sample the peat on mounds and lows (at 5-10 cm intervals); establish the radiocarbon age, the composition of carbon and nitrogen and the isotope composition of peat carbon. Radiocarbon dating shows that the studied mounds had formed in the period of Holocene optimum; the highest mounds formed about 7,7 – 4,8 thousand years ago. The authors show that within the limits of the studied mound landscapes in Holocene, the conditions of water intrusion, the composition of vegetative cover and the temperature of vegetation periods continually changed. Peat accumulated in the conditions of high water intrusion; the permafrost condition of peat had determined its low decaying and humification. Both in the period of Holocene optimum and at the present time, permafrost mounds develop cyclically, that is determined by both climate changes (air temperature and the snowiness of winters) and local factors, including the change of masses humidity. 
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