Abstract

This paper documents perennial spring activity at Expedition Fiord on western Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian High Arctic. Two groups of mineralized springs occur near the McGill University Axel Heiberg Research Station located at 79°26'N, 90°46'W. The first is at Gypsum Hill, 3 km from the terminus of the White and Thompson glaciers, and the second site is at Colour Peak, approximately 10 km downvalley near the head of Expedition Fiord. Each spring group consists of 20-40 vents spread over several hundred square metres. The highly mineralized nature of the discharge causes a freezing-point depression of 7-10°C and produces a range of precipitates and travertine deposits. Year-round water temperature and discharge rate measurements have been obtained, demonstrating perennial activity at these sites. Results indicate that temperatures range from -4.0 to 6.6°C among the individual sources; however, water temperatures at the various outlets remain constant throughout the year despite a mean annual air temperature of -15°C. Although discharge from any one outlet is low (<0.5 to 2.0 L/s), the total discharge is substantial, each year producing several seasonal frost mounds and an icing 180 000 - 300 000 m2 at the Gypsum Hill site.

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