The Role of Massive Ice and Exposed Headwall Properties on Retrogressive Thaw Slump Activity

Hayes, Samuel, Lim, Michael, Whalen, Dustin, Mann, Paul, Fraser, Paul, Penlington, Roger and Martin, James (2022) The Role of Massive Ice and Exposed Headwall Properties on Retrogressive Thaw Slump Activity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 127 (11). e2022JF006602. ISSN 2169-9003

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Retrogressive Thaw Slumps (RTSs), a highly dynamic form of mass wasting, are accelerating geomorphic change across ice-cored permafrost terrain, yet the main controls on their activity are poorly constrained. Questions over the spatial variability of environmentally sensitive massive ice bodies and a paucity of high-spatial and temporal resolution topographic data have limited our ability to project their development and wider impacts. This research addresses these key problems by investigating RTS processes on Peninsula Point — a well-studied site for intrasedimental massive ice in the Western Canadian Arctic. Utilizing high-resolution topographic data from drone surveys in 2016, 2017 and 2018 we (1) measure the temporal and spatial variations in headwall properties and retreat rates, (2) determine the spatial pattern of subsurface layering using passive seismic monitoring and (3) combine these to analyse and contextualise the factors controlling headwall retreat rates. We find that headwall properties, namely massive ice and overburden thickness, are significant controls over rates of headwall retreat. Where persistent massive ice exposures are present inland of the headwall, regardless of thickness, and overburden thickness remains < 4 m, headwall retreat is typically more than double that of other headwalls. Furthermore, a 3D site model was created by combining photogrammetric and passive seismic data, highlighting internal layering variability and demonstrating the limitations of extrapolations of internal layering based on headwall exposures. These results provide fresh insights into the in-situ controls on headwall retreat rates and new approaches to understanding their variability.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: The authors would like to thank the members of NRCan who provided invaluable data and assistance in the field. We express our gratitude to the Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik, and the community of Tuktoyaktuk. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 project INTERACT, under grant agreement No 730938 and also the NERC Arctic Office, without which this work would not have been possible.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arctic, massive ice, passive seismic, permafrost, retrogressive thaw slump, structure from motion
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 12:53
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 10:45

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