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The Cryosphere, 11, 2943-2955, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-2943-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Dec 2017
In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems
M. Andy Kass1,a, Trevor P. Irons2, Burke J. Minsley1, Neal J. Pastick3,4, Dana R. N. Brown5, and Bruce K. Wylie6 1Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center, US Geological Survey, Denver, CO 80225, USA
2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Energy and Geoscience Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
3Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc., Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA
4Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA
5Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
6Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, US Geological Survey, Sioux Falls, SD 57198, USA
anow at: Hydrogeophysics Group, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
Abstract. Characterization of permafrost, particularly warm and near-surface permafrost which can contain significant liquid water, is critical to understanding complex interrelationships with climate change, ecosystems, and disturbances such as wildfires. Understanding the vulnerability and resilience of permafrost requires an interdisciplinary approach, relying on (for example) geophysical investigations, ecological characterization, direct observations, remote sensing, and more. As part of a multiyear investigation into the impacts of wildfires on permafrost, we have collected in situ measurements of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response of the active layer and permafrost in a variety of soil conditions, types, and saturations. In this paper, we summarize the NMR data and present quantitative relationships between active layer and permafrost liquid water content and pore sizes and show the efficacy of borehole NMR (bNMR) to permafrost studies. Through statistical analyses and synthetic freezing simulations, we also demonstrate that borehole NMR is sensitive to the nucleation of ice within soil pore spaces.
Citation: Kass, M. A., Irons, T. P., Minsley, B. J., Pastick, N. J., Brown, D. R. N., and Wylie, B. K.: In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems, The Cryosphere, 11, 2943-2955, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-11-2943-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Geophysical methods have wide applications to permafrost studies. We show that borehole nuclear magnetic resonance is a valuable geophysical tool to rapidly characterize the liquid water content and unfrozen pore space in warm permafrost through simulation and field study. This technique is also sensitive to the ice nucleation process in situ. This method, which is applicable in a variety of soil types, can be used for single observations or for time-lapse monitoring of permafrost changes.
Geophysical methods have wide applications to permafrost studies. We show that borehole nuclear...
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