Graduate students drilling into Fountain Glacier on
Bylot Island, Nunavut.

Arctic Glacier - Permafrost Interactions

Permafrost and glaciers are two of the dominant controls on the environment in the Arctic. Glaciers influence the climate and produce life sustaining melt-water. The freezing temperatures of permafrost in the Arctic influences the movement of water on and beneath the ground surface. A better understanding of how these two systems interact will enable more informed decisions to be made about northern development and environmental protection. 

Bylot Island, in Sermilik National Park, has been the centre of this study for over a dozen years. By undertaking a long-term study at this site we are able to measure active processes, landscape evolution, and the impact of clime variability. Specific investigations include: modern and paleoglacial hydrology, ice- cored terrain stability, glacial retreat variability, icing development and the burial and preservation of massive ice. 

Detailed and repeated surface measurements and subsurface geophysical surveys along with a transect of automated weather stations have enabled in-depth characterization of the area. These investigations have also lead to a refinement of our understanding of a number of arctic geomorphic processes.