Audrey Veillette: Recipient of a NSTP scholarship for the upcoming 2017 field season

May 16, 2017 in @en, Article, post

Congratulations to Audrey Veillette who was awarded a Northern Scientific Training Program grant for supporting her work on Ward Hunt Island this summer. She will be there from May 31st to July 12, working on the field with her colleague Gautier Davesne.

Audrey Veillette in Bylot Island in mai 2016

Shipping of field equipment to Resolute Bay (NU)! (G. Davesne et A. Veillette)

April 19, 2017 in @en, post

The preparation of field summer in the Arctic begins in the fall with the logistic support (ex. Polar continental shelf program) and permits (ex. Parks Canada) requests. Once the supports and permits are accepted, generally in February and March, it’s time to plan the field season. The most important step is the preparation of the heavy equipment and food that are shipped by cargo flight to PCSP base in Resolute Bay. A careful preparation is crucial in order to precisely estimate the needs for the field season.

Gautier Davesne and Audrey Veillette shipped their equipment and food this Monday, which means that the field season will start soon…

Isotopic analysis of water (M. Paquette)

April 14, 2017 in post

When all you need is a few millilitres. These 2 ml bottles are more than enough for measuring isotopic composition of water. This technique has many application, but in this case we are trying to figure out what percentage of the water flowing through the water tracks of Ward Hunt Island originate from snowmelt and how much from shallow groundwater. Even though we might suspect a lot of snowmelt, all bets are off really.

Patterned grounds on Ward Hunt Island (M. Paquette)

April 8, 2017 in post

Patterned Grounds! Among the most interesting features of periglacial areas are these self-organised soil mosaics, which can take a wide range of shapes and size and are created by freeze-thaw cycles. The type of soil and the slope angle is very important in deciding the shape and the size of the patterns. This picture was taken on Ward Hunt Island, looking north, and shows the transition between scree slope colluviums (material moving downslope because of gravity) to the right and drift deposits (material deposited by a glacier) to the left. The colluviums don’t sort well because of the absence of fine sediments in the soil matrix, and we can only see small bulges where the underlying drift emerges from depth. The drift is frost susceptible, and is organized in stripe-like features oriented toward the direction of the slope. The different colours are also caused by the proliferation of biological soil crusts on the drift, as edaphic conditions are modified.

Mass movement monitoring using a VX station (by Michel Paquette)

November 22, 2016 in post


Precision work. This photo was taken looking through the targeting lense of the Geocryolab Trimble VX spatial station, which has the capacity to automatically follow the prism Gautier is holding. This allows him to work alone while performing measurements at a great degree of precision (~1 mm). On this photo, Gautier is recording the position of mass movement markers, a task performed every year, in order to measure downslope displacement of material of only a few centimeters. Such a precise task requires patience, which is particularly easier to have when the weather is calm and sunny. Luckily for Gautier and Michel, the final two weeks of their 2016 field season on Ward Hunt was blessed beautiful and warm (Ward Hunt standard !) weather, perfect for long and delicate work such as this.

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

October 31, 2016 in post


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

Imminent Geocryolab team takeoff to Ward Hunt Island!

July 8, 2015 in post

July 21st 2015, a team from Geocryolab composed of Daniel Fortier (director), Michel Paquette (Ph. D. candidate) and Gautier Davesne (Ph. D. candidate) will fly to Ward Hunt Island (Nunavut) for a 3 weeks session fieldwork.

Since 2011, the Geocryolab conducted studies in this unique site to understand the morphology of the Ward Hunt lake watershed. The focus has been on hill slope morphology and on mass/energy transfer dynamics between the land and the lake (For more details, see the projects of M. Paquette and M. Verpaelst).

The 2015 fieldwork will consist of collecting the final data for M. Paquette’s project and new data for G. Davesne and F. Bouchard (post-doc) respective projects.

The objectives are:

  1.  to make GPR surveys on the slopes and the shores of the lake, especially in the deltaic areas, in order to acquire an imagery of the ground layering and discontinuities;
  2. to collect bathymetric data to develop high resolution 3 D map of the lake-bottom morphology;
  3. to extract lake-sediments cores in the deeper zones of the lake in order to date the sediment sequences using physico-chemical, biological and sedimentary proxies;
  4. to extract ground-sediment cores on the slopes and the shore of the lake in order to analyze the physical and geotechnical properties (grain size, thaw settlement);
  5. to continue the survey of water track for their geomorphological, physical, thermal and geochemical characteristics.

Ward Hunt Island in July 2012 (Photo: M. Paquette)