Geomorphology, 2008, Vol.95(1), pp.61-73
Mud boils, a form of non-sorted circles, cover the ground surface in many periglacial landscapes. The vegetation-covered trough acts as an effective buffer to the downward movement of water and chemicals, while the bare center experiences larger fluxes of heat and mass. Since dissolved ions affect the electric conductivity of the soil solution, measurements of the bulk soil electric conductivity offer potential for estimating solute concentration. Since 1998, bulk soil electric conductivity has been measured automatically and hourly using 32 time domain reflectometry probes over an approximately 1 m diameter mud boil close to Ny Ålesund, Spitsbergen. Soil water electric conductivity was calculated from bulk soil electric conductivity using volumetric soil water content and a calibration parameter. The seasonal and spatial behaviour of water, temperature and solute concentration within two profiles of this mud boil were analyzed. Concentrations of estimated soil water electric conductivity were highest during the summer period when the active layer was thawed. Thermodynamic equilibrium modelling of the soil solution during freezing suggests that precipitation of dissolved species leads to the observed decrease in electric conductivity. There is a pronounced vertical solute concentration gradient in both profiles, while there is little evidence for horizontal solute concentration gradients beneath the mudboil.
Permafrost ; Freezing ; Geophysical Methods ; Electric Conductivity ; Solute Dynamics ; Patterned Ground ; Geography ; Geology
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