31 Aug 2022
 | 31 Aug 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Permafrost saline water and Early to Mid-Holocene permafrost aggradation in Svalbard

Dotan Rotem, Vladimir Lyakhovsky, Hanne Hvidtfeldt Christiansen, Yehudit Harlavan, and Yishai Weinstein

Abstract. Deglaciation in Svalbard was followed-up by seawater ingression and the deposition of marine (deltaic) sediments in fjord valleys, while elastic rebound resulted in fast land uplift and the exposure of these sediment to the atmosphere, therefore the formation of epigenetic permafrost. This was then followed by the accumulation of aeolian sediments, which froze syngenetically. The permafrost was drilled in the east Adventdalen valley, Svalbard, 3–4 km from the maximum up-valley reach of post-deglaciation seawater ingression, and its ground ice was measured for chemistry. While ground ice in the syngenetic part is basically fresh the epigenetic part reveals a frozen fresh-saline water interface (FSI), with chloride concentrations increasing from the top of the epigenetic part (depth of 5.5 m) to about 15 % that of seawater at 11 m. We applied a one-dimensional freezing model in order to examine the rate of top-down permafrost aggradation, which could accommodate with the observed frozen FSI. The model examined permafrost development under different scenarios of mean average air temperature, water-freezing temperature and the degree of pore-water freezing. We found that even at the relatively high temperatures of the Early to mid-Holocene, permafrost could aggrade quite fast, e.g. down to 15 to 33 m in 200 years, therefore allowing freezing of the fresh-saline water interface despite of the relatively fast rebound rate and the resultant increase in topographic gradients toward the sea. This could be aided by non-complete pore water freezing, which possibly lead to slightly faster aggradation, resulting in the freezing of the entire marine section at that location (23 m) within less than 200 years. We conclude that freezing should have occurred immediately after the exposure of the marine sediment to atmospheric conditions.

Dotan Rotem et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2022-134', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Nov 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Dotan Rotem, 17 Dec 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2022-134', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Nov 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Dotan Rotem, 17 Dec 2022

Dotan Rotem et al.

Dotan Rotem et al.


Total article views: 474 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
343 118 13 474 1 2
  • HTML: 343
  • PDF: 118
  • XML: 13
  • Total: 474
  • BibTeX: 1
  • EndNote: 2
Views and downloads (calculated since 31 Aug 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 31 Aug 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 450 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 450 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 04 May 2023
Short summary
The relatively warm climate of the Early to mid-Holocene question permafrost aggradation in the high Arctic. Permafrost ground ice from Svalbard, preserved a fresh-saline water interface. The site proximity to the sea and high rebound rates of that period, seawater should have been washed seawards. Freezing model confirmed that freezing could progress relatively fast down the exposed sediments, to 15–33 m within 200 years. We conclude that permafrost aggradation did take place in fjord valleys.