Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Research article
04 Jan 2013
Research article |  | 04 Jan 2013

Stable isotope and gas properties of two climatically contrasting (Pleistocene and Holocene) ice wedges from Cape Mamontov Klyk, Laptev Sea, northern Siberia

T. Boereboom, D. Samyn, H. Meyer, and J.-L. Tison

Abstract. This paper presents and discusses the texture, fabric, water stable isotopes (δ18O, δD) and gas properties (total gas content, O2, N2, Ar, CO2, and CH4 mixing ratios) of two climatically contrasted (Holocene vs. Pleistocene) ice wedges (IW-26 and IW-28) from Cape Mamontov Klyk, Laptev Sea, in northern Siberia. The two ice wedges display contrasting structures: one being of relatively "clean" ice and the other showing clean ice at its centre as well as debris-rich ice on both sides (referred to as "ice-sand wedge"). Our multiparametric approach allows discrimination between three different ice facies with specific signatures, suggesting different climatic and environmental conditions of formation and various intensities and nature of biological activity. More specifically, crystallography, total gas content and gas composition reveal variable levels of meltwater infiltration and contrasting contributions from anaerobic and aerobic conditions to the biological signatures. Stable isotope data are drawn on to discuss changes in paleoenvironmental conditions and in the temporal variation of the different moisture sources for the snow feeding into the ice wedges infillings. Our data set also supports the previous assumption that the ice wedge IW-28 was formed in Pleistocene and the ice wedge IW-26 in Holocene times. This study sheds more light on the conditions of ice wedge growth under changing environmental conditions.