Abstract

The growth rates of 11 closed system pingos have been measured, by means of precise levelling of permanent bench marks anchored well down into permafrost, for the 1969–1972 period. As pingo growth decreases from the summit to the base, growth of the ice-core decreases from the center out to the periphery. The pingos have grown up in the bottoms of lakes which have drained rapidly and thus become exposed to permafrost aggradation. The specific site of growth is usually in a small residual pond where permafrost aggradation is retarded. The size and shape of a residual pond exercises a strong control upon the size and shape of the pingo which grows within it. The ice-core thickness equals the sum of the pingo height above the lake flat and the depth of the residual pond in which the pingo grew. Pingos tend to grow higher rather than both higher and wider. Pingos are believed to grow more by means of ice segregation than by the freezing of a pool of water. The water source, and the associated positive pore water pressure, result from permafrost aggradation in sands and silts in the lake bottom under a closed system with expulsion of pore water. The fastest growth rate of an ice-core, for the Western Arctic Coast, is estimated at about 1.5 m/yr, for the first one or two years. After that, the growth rate decreases inversely as the square root of time. The largest pingos may continue to grow for more than 1000 yr. Four growth stages are suggested. At least five pingos have commenced growth since 1935. As an estimate, probably 50 or more pingos are now growing along the coast.

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