Articles | Volume 14, issue 8
Research article
20 Aug 2020
Research article |  | 20 Aug 2020

Thermokarst lake inception and development in syngenetic ice-wedge polygon terrain during a cooling climatic trend, Bylot Island (Nunavut), eastern Canadian Arctic

Frédéric Bouchard, Daniel Fortier, Michel Paquette, Vincent Boucher, Reinhard Pienitz, and Isabelle Laurion

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Cited articles

Abnizova, A., Siemens, J., Langer, M., and Boike, J.: Small ponds with major impact: The relevance of ponds and lakes in permafrost landscapes to carbon dioxide emissions, Global Biogeochem. Cy., 26, GB2041,, 2012. 
Abolt, C. J., Young, M. H., Atchley, A. L., Harp, D. R., and Coon, E. T.: Feedbacks between surface deformation and permafrost degradation in ice wedge polygons, Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 125, e2019JF005349,, 2020. 
Allard, M.: Geomorphological changes and permafrost dynamics: Key factors in changing arctic ecosystems. An example from Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada, Geosci. Can., 23, 205–212, 1996. 
Allard, M., Sarrazin, D., and L'Hérault, E.: Borehole and near-surface ground temperatures in northeastern Canada, v. 1.4 (1988–2016), Nordicana, D8,, 2016. 
Anderson, L., Edwards, M., Shapley, M. D., Finney, B. P., and Langdon, C.: Holocene Thermokarst Lake Dynamics in Northern Interior Alaska: The Interplay of Climate, Fire, and Subsurface Hydrology, Front. Earth Sci., 7, 53,, 2019. 
Short summary
We combine lake mapping, landscape observations and sediment core analyses to document the evolution of a thermokarst (thaw) lake in the Canadian Arctic over the last millennia. We conclude that temperature is not the only driver of thermokarst development, as the lake likely started to form during a cooler period around 2000 years ago. The lake is now located in frozen layers with an organic carbon content that is an order of magnitude higher than the usually reported values across the Arctic.