Abstract

Massive beds of ground ice are shown to exist along the arctic coastal plain east of the Alaska–Yukon boundary for a distance of at least 500 km. The massive ground ice can be seen in both undisturbed and glacially disturbed Pleistocene sediments. An examination of several thousand seismic shot hole logs, from drill holes of 15 to 35 m in depth, also corroborates the widespread occurrence of ground ice. The icy beds typically have an ice content, defined in terms of the weight of ice to dry soil, in excess of 200% for sections as much as 35 m thick. A theory is presented which suggests that: the ice is of segregation origin; the source of excess water was from the expulsion of ground water during the freezing of sands; and high pore water pressures, favorable to ice segregation, developed beneath an aggrading impermeable permafrost cover. Permafrost aggradation may have occurred either on an exposed sea floor during a period of sea level lowering which would have accompanied a glacier advance, or following a warm interval in which there had been deep thaw. Similarities in the origin of pingo ice and massive ice are discussed.

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