Long-term ecological and geomorphological investigations in the alpine tundra of the Mackenzie Mountains

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, petroleum industry, permafrost, landscape disturbance

Principal Investigator: Kershaw, G. Peter (38)
Licence Number: 14397
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Jul 18, 2008
Project Team: Steve Mamet (PhD student, U of Alberta)

Objective(s): The main study objectives of this study are to: 1) determine the status of permafrost landforms in the study area, and 2) determine long-term recovery after abandonment of the CANOL No. 1 project.

Project Description: The main objectives of this study are to: 1) determine the status of permafrost landforms in the study area, and 2) determine long-term recovery after abandonment of the CANOL No. 1 project. Both these objectives are part of long-term studies in the area that were initiated in 1974. Ultimately, this study will measure the amount of permafrost landform change and the temperature of the permafrost year-round. In addition it will also measure the rate of plant recovery on disturbed areas resulting from the CANOL Project (1942-45).

This research will consist of limited soil sampling and permafrost coring. These samples will be further analyzed at the University of Alberta. Ground-penetrating radar will be used to map distribution of permafrost in several permafrost landforms and tree and shrub samples will be retrieved for aging and climate interpretation purposes. Since 1990, automated microclimate stations have been operated in the study area - these will also be part of the study. Access to the sites is along the Canol Road through Macmillan Pass. Beyond the base camp, four-wheel drive vehicles (operated by Dechen la' Lodge), mountain bikes and foot will be the means of transport. Automated microclimate stations powered by solar energy cells operate year-round.

To access Sahtu Settlement Lands (private lands) the researcher has to contact the Tulita District Land Corporation beforehand.
Fieldwork will be conducted from July 21 to August 01, 2008 within 5 km of the Canol Heritage Trail extending from Macmillan Pass (Yukon border) to Caribou Pass.