A merit scholarship for Manuel Verpaelst!

March 30, 2015 in post by Davesne.G

Congratulations to Manuel Verpaelst for obtaining a merit scholarship granted by the Faculté des études supérieures et postdoctorales (FESP) of the University of Montreal in recognition for his excellent academic record.

Manuel is a M.Sc. student and a member of the Geocryolab under the supervision of Daniel Fortier. His research focuses on the impact of mass movement by solifluction on the evolution of downslope permafrost on Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, Canada. His thesis should be completed by the end of autumn 2015!

Good luck for the final stretch!

12 juillet (25)

by Kate G.

A merit scholarship for Gautier Davesne!

March 26, 2015 in post by Kate G.

Congratulations to Gautier Davesne for obtaining a merit scholarship granted by the Faculté des études supérieures et postdoctorales (FESP) of the University of Montreal in recognition of his excellent academic record.

Gautier, member of the Geocryolab, is currently completing his M.Sc. under the supervision of Daniel Fortier. His research focuses on the understanding of the spatio-temporal evolution of the marginal alpine permafrost in the Chic-Chocs Mountains in the Gaspé Peninsula (Quebec). His thesis is to be done by the end of the spring!

Good luck with this final sprint!




Ultra-rapid bathymetric mapping: a very useful technique in paleolimnological research

March 25, 2015 in Article by Davesne.G

Author: Frédéric Bouchard

The Geocryolab has recently acquired a simple, efficient and affordable lake bottom mapping system. The system consists of a portable echo-sounder (‘sonar’) equipped with a GPS, similar to those used by recreational fishermen for spotting fish shoals (Fig1, A ). The sonar can be installed quickly and simply in a small boat (zodiac) using plumbing pieces, Duct Tape and a bit of ingenuity (Fig1, B). Mapping surveys involve moving on lake surfaces along navigation lines while continuously recording water depths (Fig1, C). A separate software then allows to interpolate water depths between navigation lines in order to generate a high resolution bathymetric map (Fig1, D).

This technique was successfully tested in July 2014 on Bylot Island, Nunavut. In the context of our research in paleolimnology (history of ponds and lakes studying lacustrine sediment properties), this technique appeared very useful, if not crucial, for identifying the best location to sample lake sediment cores (generally, the deepest location within the lake). Moreover, as an important logistical advantage, the whole ‘kit’, including a small zodiac, can be deployed and used in the field by only one person, nicknamed the ‘Zodiac Sherpa’ (Fig1, E).

For further information: Bouchard et al., submitted (GEOQuebec2015 abstract, to be confirmed).


Figure 1 : A) Geocryolab’s portable sonar, which allows to continuously record lake bottom depths. Model 859XD with integrated GPS from Humminbird (photo: F. Bouchard); B) Sonar installation in a small zodiac. Sonar antenna is fixed outside the zodiac to stay on the water surface during navigation (photo: F. Bouchard); C) Navigation lines surveyed with the sonar. Depths are indicated by the color range; D) Bathymetric map generated from the navigation lines. We can see a deeper ‘trench’ (10-m depth), non visible from aerial photographs or other field surveys, which allows to quickly identify the best coring site; E) Motivated young researcher who carries, all by himself, the Geocryolab’s bathymetric mapping system to the next study site (photo: V. Preskienis)


Audrey Veillette recently joined the CEN!

March 25, 2015 in post by Davesne.G

Audrey Veillette is a M.Sc. candidate since January 2015 and is now a member of the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) (see her profile page here!). Her master’s project focuses on the cryostratigraphy of thermo-erosion gullies on Bylot Island and aims to quantify the impact of gullies on energy and material flow within the geosystems. Audrey will focus her attention on the stabilization characteristics of gullies through cryostratigraphic analysis.

Massive ice drilling, Bylot Island (Nunavut) in the summer of 2013. Étienne Godin and Audrey Veillette.

Geocryolab joins international effort to identify future priorities for permafrost research

March 19, 2015 in post by Davesne.G

Frédéric Bouchard, Julie Malenfant-Lepage and Michel Paquette co-authored a manuscript in The Cryosphere journal summarizing the Top Five scientific topics that should receive the greatest attention from the permafrost research community in the future. Building on an international, multidisciplinary forum held in June 2014, this article is a collaborative contribution from early career researchers members of PYRN, APECS, ADAPT and PAGE21 working across a spectrum of permafrost-related disciplines.

The manuscript is currently under review in the ″Interactive Public Discussion″ section of the Journal. Everyone interested can contribute to enhance the manuscript by submitting comments and suggestions until April 22, 2015.

Rapid disappearance of perennial ice cover on Canada’s most northern Lake

March 18, 2015 in post by Davesne.G

Canada’s most northern lake, Ward Hunt Lake, has lost its perennial ice cover in 2011 and 2012. According to scientific archives and satellite imagery, this is the first recorded occurrence of complete open water conditions on this lake, usually known for maintaining a >3.5 m thick cover even in late summer. Geocryolab member Michel Paquette shows in a newly published article in Geophysical Research Letters that the decay of the ice cover began in 2008 and is the result of a succession of warm summers from 2008 onwards. The implications of phenological changes of lake ice covers are numerous, they greatly affect limnological conditions such as thermal regime and stratification, water chemistry and lake biology.

To view the paper: