In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and
active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems
M. Andy Kass1, Trevor P. Irons2, Burke J. Minsley1, Neal J. Pastick3,4, Dana R. N. Brown5, and Bruce K. Wylie61Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver CO 80225, USA 2Energy and Geoscience Institute, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA 3Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc., Sioux Falls SD 57198, USA 4Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, St. Paul MN 55108, USA 5Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks AK 99775, USA 6Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, US Geological Survey, Sioux Falls SD 57198, USA
Received: 31 Oct 2016 – Accepted for review: 31 Dec 2016 – Discussion started: 23 Jan 2017
Abstract. Characterization of permafrost, particularly warm and near-surface permafrost which can contain significant liquid water, is critical to understanding complex interrelationships with climate change, ecosystems, and disturbances such as wildfires. Understanding the vulnerability and resilience of permafrost requires an interdisciplinary approach, relying on (for example) geophysical investigations, ecological characterization, direct observations, remote sensing, and more. As part of a multi-year investigation into the impacts of wildfires to permafrost, we have collected in situ measurements of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) response of active layer and permafrost in a variety of soil conditions, types, and saturations. In this paper, we summarize the NMR data and present quantitative relationships between active layer and permafrost liquid water content and pore sizes. Through statistical analyses and synthetic freezing simulations, we also demonstrate that borehole NMR can image the nucleation of ice within soil pore spaces.
Kass, M. A., Irons, T. P., Minsley, B. J., Pastick, N. J., Brown, D. R. N., and Wylie, B. K.: In situ nuclear magnetic resonance response of permafrost and
active layer soil in boreal and tundra ecosystems, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-256, in review, 2017.