Abstract

Field observations of soil temperature, moisture regime, and frost heave in silty clay hummocks at Inuvik, Northwest Territories, over the fall and early winter reveal that a significant amount of moisture migration and frost heave occurs within frozen soil at temperatures down to −2.4°C. The field data are analysed using thermodynamic considerations, and the apparent hydraulic conductivity is determined as a function of negative temperature. The conductivity falls from near 7 × 10−9 m s−1 above 0 °C to about 3.5 × 10−12 m s−1 at −1 °C, then remains fairly constant down to −2.4 °C. The observed decrease in heave with time is explained in terms of a diminishing water supply at the base of the active layer.

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