Thermokarst lake to lagoon transitions in eastern Siberia: Do submerged taliks refreeze?

michael.angelopoulos [ at ]


As the Arctic coast erodes, it drains thermokarst lakes, transforming them into lagoons and, eventually, integrates them into subsea permafrost. Lagoons represent the first stage of a thermokarst lake transition to a marine setting and possibly more saline and colder upper boundary conditions. In this research, borehole data, electrical resistivity surveying, and modelling of heat and salt diffusion were carried out at Polar Fox Lagoon on the Bykovsky Peninsula, Siberia. Polar Fox Lagoon is a seasonally isolated water body connected to Tiksi Bay through a channel, leading to hypersaline waters under the ice cover. The boreholes in the centre of the lagoon revealed floating ice and a saline cryotic bed underlain by a saline cryotic talik, a thin ice‐bearing permafrost layer, and unfrozen ground. The bathymetry showed that most of the lagoon was ice‐grounded in spring. In bedfast ice areas, the electrical resistivity profiles suggest that an unfrozen saline layer was underlain by a thick layer of refrozen talik. The modelling suggests thermokarst lake taliks refreeze when submerged in saltwater with mean annual bottom water temperatures below or slightly above 0 °C. This occurs, because the top‐down chemical degradation of newly formed ice‐bearing permafrost is slower than the cooling of the talik. Hence, lagoons may pre‐condition taliks with a layer of ice‐bearing permafrost before encroachment by the sea and this frozen layer may act as a cap on gas migration out of the underlying talik.

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Primary Division
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Research Networks
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Eprint ID
DOI 10.1029/2019JF005424

Cite as
Angelopoulos, M. , Overduin, P. , Westermann, S. , Tronicke, J. , Strauss, J. , Schirrmeister, L. , Biskaborn, B. K. , Liebner, S. , Maximov, G. M. , Grigoriev, M. N. and Grosse, G. (2020): Thermokarst lake to lagoon transitions in eastern Siberia: Do submerged taliks refreeze? , Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface . doi: 10.1029/2019JF005424

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Geographical region

Research Platforms

Arctic Land Expeditions > RU-Land_2017_Lena_Bykovsky

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