American Chemical Society
es5b02215_si_001.pdf (3.41 MB)

Current Magnitude and Mechanisms of Groundwater Discharge in the Arctic: Case Study from Alaska

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-20, 00:00 authored by Natasha T. Dimova, Adina Paytan, John D. Kessler, Katy J. Sparrow, Fenix Garcia-Tigreros Kodovska, Alanna L. Lecher, Joseph Murray, Slawomir M. Tulaczyk
To better understand groundwater–surface water dynamics in high latitude areas, we conducted a field study at three sites in Alaska with varying permafrost coverage. The natural groundwater tracer (222Rn, radon) was used to evaluate groundwater discharge, and electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) was used to examine subsurface mixing dynamics. Different controls govern groundwater discharge at these sites. In areas with sporadic permafrost (Kasitsna Bay), the major driver of submarine groundwater discharge is tidal pumping, due to the large tidal oscillations, whereas at Point Barrow, a site with continuous permafrost and small tidal amplitudes, fluxes are mostly affected by seasonal permafrost thawing. Extended areas of low resistivity in the subsurface alongshore combined with high radon in surface water suggests that groundwater–surface water interactions might enhance heat transport into deeper permafrost layers promoting permafrost thawing, thereby enhancing groundwater discharge.