Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:20 PM
PERENNIAL GROUNDWATER DISCHARGE IN HIGH ARCTIC MOUNTAIN BELTS
Thick permafrost in high arctic regions is thought to isolate deep groundwater systems from the surface environment. Recent discoveries show however that in mountain belts of northern Ellesmere Island active deep circulating groundwater systems occur. Recharge of groundwater is driven by sub-glacial meltwater under warm based glaciers. Fracture zones provide high permeability conduits for return flow through over 400 m of permafrost. Discharge conduits in proglacial regions are maintained though high heat flux of groundwater discharge even though ground exposed through glacier retreat experience permafrost propagation through exposure to low average air temperatures. Eventually channels can be frozen off, so that climate warming would be expected in the short term to reduce groundwater flow in High Arctic mountain belts.