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Title: Permafrost Extent on the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf From Surface-Towed Controlled-Source Electromagnetic Surveys

Abstract

We have developed a surface-towed electric dipole-dipole system capable of operating in shallow water and deployable from small vessels. Our system uses electromagnetic energy from a modulated manmade source to interrogate the underlying resistivity structure of the seafloor. We used this system in the summers of 2014 and 2015 to map subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the Beaufort shelf along 200 km of coastline, from Tigvariak Island to Harrison Bay. Permafrost is resistive and was found to be anisotropic, likely due to interbedded layers of frozen and unfrozen sediment. Maps of depth to permafrost and its thickness were produced from electrical resistivity inversions and results compared to borehole logs in the area. We observed elevated resistivity values offshore the Sagavanirktok River outflow, supporting the idea that fresh groundwater flow has a preserving effect on submerged permafrost. This system provides a cost effective method that could be used to further quantify permafrost extent, provide a baseline for measurements of future degradation, and provide observational constraints to aid in permafrost modeling studies.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States). Scripps Inst. of Oceanography
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
OSTI Identifier:
1539755
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1472186
Grant/Contract Number:  
FE0010144
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 123; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9313
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Geochemistry & Geophysics

Citation Formats

Sherman, D., and Constable, S. C. Permafrost Extent on the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf From Surface-Towed Controlled-Source Electromagnetic Surveys. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2018jb015859.
Sherman, D., & Constable, S. C. Permafrost Extent on the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf From Surface-Towed Controlled-Source Electromagnetic Surveys. United States. doi:10.1029/2018jb015859.
Sherman, D., and Constable, S. C. Fri . "Permafrost Extent on the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf From Surface-Towed Controlled-Source Electromagnetic Surveys". United States. doi:10.1029/2018jb015859. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1539755.
@article{osti_1539755,
title = {Permafrost Extent on the Alaskan Beaufort Shelf From Surface-Towed Controlled-Source Electromagnetic Surveys},
author = {Sherman, D. and Constable, S. C.},
abstractNote = {We have developed a surface-towed electric dipole-dipole system capable of operating in shallow water and deployable from small vessels. Our system uses electromagnetic energy from a modulated manmade source to interrogate the underlying resistivity structure of the seafloor. We used this system in the summers of 2014 and 2015 to map subsea ice-bearing permafrost on the Beaufort shelf along 200 km of coastline, from Tigvariak Island to Harrison Bay. Permafrost is resistive and was found to be anisotropic, likely due to interbedded layers of frozen and unfrozen sediment. Maps of depth to permafrost and its thickness were produced from electrical resistivity inversions and results compared to borehole logs in the area. We observed elevated resistivity values offshore the Sagavanirktok River outflow, supporting the idea that fresh groundwater flow has a preserving effect on submerged permafrost. This system provides a cost effective method that could be used to further quantify permafrost extent, provide a baseline for measurements of future degradation, and provide observational constraints to aid in permafrost modeling studies.},
doi = {10.1029/2018jb015859},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth},
number = 9,
volume = 123,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {8}
}

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