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Thermal and water conditions of the active layer after the 2002 tundra fire, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Thermal and water conditions of the active layer after the 2002 tundra fire, Seward Peninsula, Alaska

International Conference on Permafrost (ICOP) Proceedings 9(Pages 645-648

In order to clarify the effects of a tundra fire on the thermal and water conditions of permafrost and active layer, field observations were carried out on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, between 2005 and 2007, where a 2002 tundra fire had burned up to a road that acted like a firebreak. Ground temperatures at burned sites were 4 degrees C-5 degrees C higher than those at unburried sites. Measurements of soil water content showed no significant tendency, increase or decrease. The depth of the active layer was significantly greater on the burned (60 cm) than the unburned (40 cm) side of the firebreak in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 the depths were 80 cm and 50 cm, respectively. The effect of fire on permafrost reaches only to the layer near ground surface, the active layer or upper part of the permafrost. Apparent electrical resistivity values up to I m at burned sites were relatively low. Resistivity values of unfrozen mineral soil in the active layer were calculated and there was no significant difference of unfrozen soil between burned and unburned sites. The variation of calculated resistivity was small at burned sites, which may show the small variation of water content along the survey line due to the fire.

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Accession: 023979711

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