Self-stabilization of thaw slumps

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, permafrost, climate change, thaw slump

Principal Investigator: Doré, Guy (2)
Licence Number: 16597
Organization: Université Laval
Licensed Year(s): 2019
Issued: Jul 29, 2019
Project Team: Steve Kokelj; Mikhail Kanevskiy; Chantal Lemieux; Eva Stephani; Marilyne Parent

Objective(s): To develop adapted management strategies for infrastructure at risk due to thaw slumps.

Project Description: The research team are studying the natural stabilization of thaw slumps in the aim to eventually develop adapted management strategies for infrastructure at risk.

The specific objectives are to assess the variations of thaw slump stabilization across landscapes, regions, and climates; and to assess the positive and negative feedback effects controlling the natural stabilization of thaw slumps.

This project aims to advance objectives of the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative of Transport Canada, including: 1) improving knowledge and build Northern capacity to adapt transportation and operations to climate change, and 2) ensuring the necessary knowledge is available to enable planners and practitioners to make strategic choices regarding ongoing transportation operations and new construction of transportation infrastructure in Canada’s North.

The fieldwork consist of collecting soil samples with handheld equipment. This task implies minimal disturbance to the ground surface, the tundra mat will be put back in place at locations where the team sample the underlying soils, and no instrument will remain in the ground.

At two select locations, the team will install a shallow cable to measure ground temperatures in the upcoming year.

The research team will use geophysical instruments (e.g., ground-penetrating radar) to evaluate ground conditions; these instruments are handheld and do not penetrate or alter the ground surface.