Release and fate of organic and inorganic matter from the Batagaika thaw slump to the Yana River in central Yakutia (Russia) due to rapid permafrost degradation


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Michael.Fritz [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

With ongoing climate change, permafrost soils and their function as carbon sinks are becoming more important as they might become carbon sources with rising global air temperatures. Landscapes are also changing, forming distinct features such as retrogressive thaw slumps, which not only release large amounts of organic carbon but also nitrogen, heavy metals, trace elements, major ions, sediment and fresh water into the environment depending on the regional settings. This thesis examines the release of dissolved and particulate matter due to the permafrost thaw in the Batagaika mega thaw slump in central Yakutia (Russia) (67�34'41.83" N, 134�45'46.91" E) and how it affects the subsequent streams the Batagaika and Yana River. In total 11 samples were taken: 5 slump, 4 Batagaika River and 2 Yana River samples, representing the flow path from the slump to the Yana River. The samples were analyzed for electrical conductivity, hydrogen carbonate content, DOC, nitrogen, major ion concentrations, heavy and trace metals, stable oxygen, hydrogen and carbon isotopes and were dated using radiocarbon measurements. When available, particulate matter in suspension was analyzed for total carbon, total organic carbon, total nitrogen and stable carbon isotopes, and were radiocarbon dated. The results show a significant release of dissolved organic and inorganic matter in the thaw slump affecting the water chemistry of the Batagaika River but showing no observable impact on the Yana River. Particulate matter does not seem to have had a strong impact on the subsequent rivers as sediment contents in suspension in the slump are >50% and <2% in the Batagaika and Yana River. Also TOC values are clearly lower in the slump compared to the Batagaika River. Trying to relate radiocarbon ages, stable isotopes and TOC values with specific stratigraphical units and ice wedges of the slumps headwall showed a connection to the upper sand unit of the NNE headwall and might lead to the conclusion of stronger erosion of a few units or sections of the headwall. However, the low sample resolution in this thesis both spatially and temporally must be considered in the interpretation of the results.



Item Type
Thesis (Master)
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Not peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
50043
Cite as
Leins, A. (2019): Release and fate of organic and inorganic matter from the Batagaika thaw slump to the Yana River in central Yakutia (Russia) due to rapid permafrost degradation , Master thesis, University of Potsdam.


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