Ward Hunt Island: looking for fresh water…(Michel Paquette)

October 31, 2016 in post by Davesne.G


Photo: M. Verpaelst

Summer is late on this June 26th 2013 picture, as Michel Paquette gets ready to collect water from the shallow moat on Ward Hunt Lake (83.05° N). The picture was taken as Michel and Manuel Verpaelst were almost a month into their presence on the field, after spending 19 days in Resolute awaiting for a weather window so they could fly in. Walking back and forth from camp to Ward Hunt Lake to collect water is part of the camp tasks, and acts as a relief from the ongoing everyday work. The picture was taken around noon, as the sun nears its peak. Also visible to the south (background) are the low summits of Marvin Peninsula on Ellesmere Island

Ground ice at Cape Marre-Sale, Yamal Peninsula, Russia (Daniel Fortier)

October 28, 2016 in post by Davesne.G


Cape Marre-Sale, Yamal Peninsula, Russia. Mike Angelopoulos, Daniel Fortier, E. Godin and Mark T. Jorgenson (Photo: Eva Stephani)

The origin of ground ice is important to understand how the landscape evolved in the past and will continue to change in response to climate change. Geocryolab members and colleagues worked on the origin of ground ice at Cape Marre-Sale. We proposed that buried glacial-related ice forms vast portion of the permafrost of these icy coastal cliffs.

Additional information: Fortier et al. 2012. Origin of massive ice at Cape Marre-Sale, Yamal Peninsula, Siberia, Russia: contrasting views: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269710232_Origin_of_massive_ice_at_Cape_Marre-Sale_Yamal_Peninsula_Siberia_Russia_contrasting_views

“Cold War” in Potsdam, June 2016 (Vilmantas Prėskienis)

October 26, 2016 in Article, post by Davesne.G

Remember these days when USSR and USA were the two competing powers, and Europe with China were just little players? No? Me neither (I’m too young). But my trip to Potsdam last June reminded me of that. This was the 11th ICOP (International Conference on Permafrost), at which close to half of the participants were from Russia, other big delegation from Alaska (and some other states), and then smaller groups of researchers and students from other “satellite countries”, including Canada, China, Sweden, Germany, UK, etc. Here for a full week, the cold war (or war for cold) continued as in old times.

My name tag bore only the indication that I’m from Canada and my exotic name, which allowed me to be a perfect spy for… I don’t even know who yet. The Alaskans (and their colleagues from other states) were more suspicious about me mingling around, since everyone is expected to understand English, as it was the language of the conference; however I managed to secretly retrieve some information from Russians, French, Swedish and Germans, who had no suspicion I might grasp some words in their languages.

Overall this was a great conference, where every new day brought lots of excellent ideas, and taught me more than a semester-long course at a university. I met my old friends and made some new acquaintances, and finally I’ve learned again, that having lots of nice pictures on your poster is never a bad idea!


Vilmantas in front of his poster at the ICOP in Potsdam

Mont Jacques-Cartier, a remarquable site for mountain permafrost evolution monitoring in eastern america (Gautier Davesne)

October 20, 2016 in focus-en, post by Davesne.G

First studies dealing with the mountain permafrost in the Chic-Chocs Mountains has been undertaken at the end of the 1970’s by Gray and Brown, who highlighted the similarities between the periglacial environments of the Chic-Chocs Mountains and of the arctic regions. Based on this observation, Gray and Brown hypothesised that marginal permafrost bodies may be present on the highest plateaus of the range, especially on Mont Jacques-Cartier and Mont Albert. To validate this hypothesis, an instrumentation program was developed in September 1977 (fig. 1) on Mont Jacques-Cartier consisting of drilling a 29 m deep borehole at the summit and installing 23 thermistors on it to measure the ground temperature at various depths (Gray et Brown, 1979). With a 36-year long record of the geothermal regime (1979-2014) furnished by the thermistors cable, Mont Jacques-Cartier is one of the longest permafrost-monitoring sites in North America. This marginal permafrost body, the southernmost in Canada, is very close to the melting point and thus highly sensitive to minor climate fluctuations. Furthermore, the thermal regime of the ground responds quickly to the climate changes due to the high thermal conductivity of the rock in which it is present (Gray et al., 2009; 2016). The long-term ground temperature time series extracted from the borehole are thus very interesting to understand the responses of the permafrost to the climate changes and the consequences of permafrost degradation on the alpine geosystem of the Chic-Chocs Mountains.


Drilling the borehole on Mont Jacques-Cartier summit in September 1977 (Photo: James Gray)

Gray, J.T. et Brown, R. J. E. (1979). Permafrost existence and distribution in the Chic-Chocs Mountains, Gaspésie, Québec. Géographie physique du Quaternaire33(3-4), 299-316.

Gray, J.T., Godin, E., Masse, J. et Fortier, D. (2009). Trois décennies d’observation des fluctuations du régime thermique du pergélisol dans le parc national de la Gaspésie. Le Naturaliste Canadien133(3), 69-77.

Gray, J., Davesne, G., Fortier, D., and Godin, E. (2016) The Thermal Regime of Mountain Permafrost at the Summit of Mont Jacques-Cartier in the Gaspé Peninsula, Québec, Canada: A 37 Year Record of Fluctuations showing an Overall Warming Trend. Permafrost and Periglacial  Processes, doi: 10.1002/ppp.1903


Lab simulation of the impact of the aeolian sand on the ground temperature (Lin Chen)

October 18, 2016 in post by Davesne.G


This photo shows the physical model developped by Lin Chen (Phd Student in Geocryolab) in 2014 in China to simulate the impact of aeolian sand on the ground temperature. Sand layer is one of major local factors, which play a significant role on the thermal stability of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Lin and his team used numerical and phycial model,  geotechnical and geophysical investigation to reveal the effect of sand accumulation on ground temperature of permafrost.