Ice wedges are subsurface ice mass structures that formed mainly by freezing precipitation with airborne dust and surrounding soil particles flowed through the active layer into the cracks growing by repeating thermal contractions in the deeper permafrost layer over time. These ice masses characteristically contain high concentrations of solutes and solids. Because of their unique properties and distribution, the possibility of harnessing ice wedges as an alternative archive for reconstructing paleoclimate and paleoenvironment has been recently suggested despite limited studies. It is imperative to preserve the physicochemical properties of the ice wedge (e.g., solute concentration, mineral particles) without any potential alteration to use it as a proxy for reconstructing the paleo-information. Thawing the ice wedge samples is prerequisite for the assessment of their physicochemical properties, during which the paleo-information could be unintentionally altered by any methodological artifact. This study examined the effect of thawing conditions and procedures on the physicochemical properties of solutes and solid particles in ice wedge samples collected from Cyuie, East Siberia. Four different thawing conditions with varying temperatures (4 and 23°C) and oxygen exposures (oxic and anoxic) for the ice wedge sample treatment were examined. Ice wedge samples thawed at 4°C under anoxic conditions, wherein biological activity and oxidation were kept to a minimum, were set as the standard thawing conditions to which the effects of temperature and oxygen were compared. The results indicate that temperature and oxygen exposure have negligible effects on the physicochemical characteristics of the solid particles. However, the chemical features of the solution (e.g., pH, electric conductivity, alkalinity, and concentration of major cations and trace elements) at 4°C under oxic conditions were considerably altered, compared to those measured under the standard thawing conditions. This study shows that the thawing condition of ice wedge samples can affect their chemical features and thereby the geochemical information therein for the reconstruction of the paleoclimate and/or paleoenvironment.
|Translated title of the contribution||Effects of Thawing Conditions in Sample Treatment on the Chemical Properties of East Siberian Ice Wedges|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Economic and Environmental Geology|
|Publication status||Published - 2022 Dec|
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Economic Geology