Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Alaska permafrost characterization: Geophysical and related field data collected in 2021

October 14, 2022

Geophysical measurements were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at five sites in Interior Alaska in September 2021 for the purposes of imaging permafrost structure and quantifying variations in subsurface moisture content in relation to thaw features. Electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) measurements were made along transects 110-222 meters (m) in length to quantify subsurface permafrost characteristics. ERT transects were collected across a fireline boundary within the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site where repeat measurements have been made since 2014; across and adjacent to two thermokarst lakes, Vault Lake and Goldstream Lake; and along two profiles at the North Star golf course in Fairbanks, Alaska. Models of electrical resistivity produced from these data revealed the distribution of frozen and thawed soil to depths of 10-40 m below the surface. Borehole nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) data were collected at two sites in order to determine liquid water content at depth in shallow boreholes. NMR data were collected in a 2.25 m-deep borehole at the North Star golf course adjacent to one of the ERT profiles, and in another two 1.625 m-deep boreholes adjacent to Big Trail Lake where previous NMR measurements were made in 2019 and 2020. Manual permafrost-probe measurements of thaw depths were collected at set intervals along each ERT transect and adjacent to NMR measurement locations used for comparison to the geophysical measurements, except at the North Star golf course where shallow permafrost was absent.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Alaska permafrost characterization: Geophysical and related field data collected in 2021
DOI 10.5066/P9XEMDE1
Authors Burke J Minsley, Stephanie R James, Neal J Pastick
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center