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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Tundra Soils Formed over Ice Wedges, Northern Alaska1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 686-691
    Received: Apr 13, 1967
    Accepted: June 22, 1967

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  1. Jerry Brown2



The physical and chemical properties of tundra soils overlying ice wedges are determined and the role of ice wedge growth in the genesis of these soils is evaluated. Ice wedges form in perennially frozen ground as a result of repetitive winter cracking of the ground and filling in by ice. A thin layer of soil is isolated over the enlarging wedge in narrow depressions which result in polygonal ground. The soil thaws seasonally from the surface downward and freezes from both the top and bottom. Accompanying moisture migration results in a dehydrated midsection. No significant migration of cations or mineral grains was observed in a 70-cm deep tundra soil. The ice wedges are subjected to melting which creates new soil environments. Evidence of these changes have been traced over a 14,000-year period at Barrow, Alaska.

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