Massive ground ice in lowlands

Authored by: Stuart A. Harris , Anatoli Brouchkov , Cheng Guodong


Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138054165
eBook ISBN: 9781315166988
Adobe ISBN:


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Much of the northern coast of the Northwest Territories in Canada, the European part of Russia and the north part of Western Siberia consist of lowlands. They are also a part of the permafrost realm that was partly glaciated about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. However, large areas of the lowlands were the sites for fairly continuous deposition of cold-climate loess (Murton et al., 2015). Along the Arctic coast of Russia, the eroding cliffs expose extensive outcrops of thick, horizontal beds of massive ice that is overlain by glacial till or other younger sediments (Figure 6.1). Often, the ice shows folded structures as well as signs of thrusting. Recently, massive icy beds have been found deep in bedrock. This raises the problem of their origin. Are they formed by accumulation of ice by cryosuction from the abundant groundwater, are they the result of burial of stagnant glacier ice that has not yet completely melted, or are they formed by some other process or processes? The problem is not entirely academic since any thawing of the ice would be disastrous for any man-made structures. The resulting slope instability prevents the construction of port facilities (see Chapters 11 and 12).

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