The origin of deformed massive ice, Pleistocene Mackenzie Delta, Western Canadian Arctic

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, permafrost, sediment, environmental change, ice, ground ice

Principal Investigator: Murton, Julian B (6)
Licence Number: 13039
Organization: University of Sussex
Licensed Year(s): 1999 1998
Issued: Apr 29, 1999
Project Team: Dr. Ian Clark, Dr. Richard Waller, Dr. Colin Whitman

Objective(s): The origin of massive bodies of underground ice is a key problem in arctic geology. The ice may represent either buried remnants of ice age glaciers preserved in continuously frozen ground or ice that grew in such ground before the last ice age. This distinction is critical to reconstructing environmental change in the Arctic, particularly to our understanding of the behavior of the last ice sheets in northwestern Canada and western Siberia. The main objective of the proposed research is to establish the origin of massive bodies of underground ice at three key massive-ice localities in the Mackenzie Delta area: i) Mason Bay, NE Richards Island; (ii) the central Eskimo Lakes region; (iii) Liverpool Bay. The research will be carried out by an interdisciplinary team of scientists examining the geology, glaciology and chemistry of the ice and adjacent sediments. The research will involve field description and sampling of ice, sediments and geological structures exposed in large coastal bluffs and laboratory analyses of these materials. The results will have international significance to the fields of permafrost and glacial geology.

Project Description: The main objective of the proposed research is to establish the origin of massive bodies of underground ice at three key massive-ice localities in the Mackenzie Delta area: i) Mason Bay area, NE Richards Island; (ii) the central Eskimo Lakes region and (iii) the Liverpool Bay area. The research will be carried out by an interdisciplinary team of scientists examining the geology, glaciology and chemistry of the ice and adjacent sediments. The research will involve field description and sampling of ice, sediments and geological structures exposed in large coastal bluffs and laboratory analyses of these materials. The project will operate from a two to three person fly camp at two sites at Cliff Point, Liverpool Bay area. Transportation to the camps will be by floatplane from Inuvik. Equipment used will comprise shovels and trowels to clear slumped sediment from coastal bluffs, and sampling equipment (e.g. ice axe, chisels, plastic bottles). Data collection will comprise sediment and ice sampling, and detailed recording of ice and associated geological structures. Sediment sample size will be typically 0.1 - 1 kg (<100 samples). Ice (water) sample size will be typically 0.1 -0.5 l (<200 samples). A small number of ice samples will be collected for crystal analysis.