Permafrost table depth in soils of Eastern Antarctica oases, King George and Ardley Islands (South Shetland Islands)



This study was aimed to investigate the electrical resistivity in soils and permafrost of various ice-free areas of Antarctica and Sub-Antarctica (from coastal Eastern Antarctica oases to Maritime Antarctica). Measurements of electrical resistivity of soil and permafrost strata were performed with a portable device LandMapper. It was found that the permafrost table depth ranged 82 to106 cm in Bunger Hills, 95 to 122 cm in Larsemann Hills, 27 to 106 in Thala Hills, and 89 to 100 cm on King George Island and Ardley Island. Presence (and thickness) of organic layer and influence of snow patches melting were found the main reasons for differentiation of permafrost table depth in the studied ice-free areas. Anthropogenic disturbance at waste disposal sites resulted in more pronounced soil profile heterogeneity and formation of scattered electrical resistivity profiles. Permafrost layer was found less homogenous in the upper part of permafrost strata compared to the lower part. An application of vertical electrical resistivity sounding (VERS) may be very useful for evaluation of active layer thickness in Antarctic environments, especially when they are facing severe anthropogenic influence due to maintaining of numerous Antarctic research stations and logistical operations

Antarctica, soils, electrical resistivity, permafrost table, active layer

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