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Permafrost Core Analysis

Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Project description

Project Description – Permafrost core analyses


A total of 7 boreholes have been drilled in the valley floor of Longyeardalen, Svalbard, as part of the interdisciplinary project “Developing a permafrost and meteorological climate change response system to build resilience in Arctic communities” (“PermaMeteoCommunity”), in order to map the sediment and ground ice distribution in the valley.

One of these boreholes is located at the edge of the town close to the fjord Adventfjorden, in an area covered by glaciofluvial deposits at the surface, underlain by marine sediments. A total of 9.35 m of core samples were recovered in this borehole at 2.0 to 10.1 m and 19.95 to 21.2 m depths, mainly consisting of fine-grained sediment.

What is particular regarding the permafrost at this site is potential presence of liquid water at sub-zero ground temperatures due to clay and salt content. It is therefore important to know how much salt and clay is contained in the ground to be able to model the unfrozen water content at different temperatures (ie. the freezing curve).

The focus of this internship project will hence be to analyse this core in terms of:

-       Cryostratigraphy (types of ground ice)

-       Sediment composition

-       Ground ice content (excess ice and gravimetric ice content)

-       Grain size distribution

-       Salt content

In addition, depending on the intern’s interests and time available, the following are potential tasks:

-       Uniaxial compression testing

-       Freezing point depression testing

-       Modelling of the freezing curve

The internship is expected to last around 3 to 5 months, ideally in the time space between 1 February and 1 August 2024.

The project will be led by Knut Tveit (certified PermaIntern host) and supervised by Prof. Hanne H. Christiansen (certified PermaIntern supervisor), potentially in with collaboration with other scientific staff.

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