Section 20
Chapter 19,693

Permafrost properties in the McMurdo Sound-dry valley region of Antarctica

Campbell, I.B.; Claridge, G.G.C.; Campbell, D.I.; Balks, M.R.

Collection Nordicana 57: 121-126


Accession: 019692735

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The properties of permafrost at 230 sites in the coastal McMurdo Sound and Dry Valley regions of Antarctica were investigated. The permafrost properties are related to the climate, with the thickness of the active layer and the water content of the permafrost varying according to regional climatic differences. Inland, at colder, drier, locations, ground ice is sporadic and the permafrost at many sites is dry frozen. Study of surfaces disturbed by earth moving construction, and other geomorphic evidence, indicates that ground ice formation in Antarctica is extremely slow. On young surfaces, the salinity of the ground ice is frequently greater than in the active layer and extensive precipitation of salts on the surface may result from soil disturbances. Measurements of climatic parameters and soil thermal properties showed that ground surface albedo and soil salinity strongly influence the soil thermal regime, which in turn determines active layer depth and permafrost properties.

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