Exploration has been continuing on the karst system developed within the cliffs of the First Canyon (300–1050 m deep) of the South Nahanni River(61°18′ N, 124°10′ W). Probably the most northerly on the North American continent, this karst region is within the discontinuous permafrost zone, at the southern limit of the tundra. The caves contain ice of the type which depends on the present subarctic climate (two-dimensional hexagonal ice crystals, ice like calcite speleothem and 'secondary' ice), or on a long-term climatic change of ± 2400 years (massive ice deposits and sponge-like ice deposits).

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