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Deep groundwater circulation through the High Arctic cryosphere forms Mars-like gullies
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-18, 06:51 authored by Grasby, SE, Bernadette ProemseBernadette Proemse, Beauchamp, B
We report here the discovery of the northernmost known perennial spring, located in the polar desert of the Canadian High Arctic (average precipitation 75.5 mm/yr; average annual air temperature –19.7 °C). The high-discharge spring (∼520 L/s) has also anomalously high temperatures (9.0 °C), despite occurring in a region of low geothermal gradient and thick (>400 m) permafrost. Active erosion at the spring outlet forms gullies with alcove-channel-apron morphology, remarkably similar to archetypal gullies observed on mid-latitude regions of Mars. Geochemical and isotopic data show a meteoric origin for the waters, demonstrating that deep circulating groundwater systems can form active connections through the cryosphere to the subsurface, even in the absence of thermal anomalies. This discovery challenges current understanding of high-latitude permafrost hydrology.
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherGeological Soc America
Place of publicationInc, Po Box 9140, Boulder, USA, Co, 80301-9140
Rights statementCopyright 2014 Geological Society of America