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Groundwater and pingos

Study of the geomorphology of several pingos in Dunderdalen and Chamberlindalen and conducted fluid sampling of these features.

Purpose of the Fieldwork

The purpose of the fieldwork was to study the geomorphology of several pingos in Dunderdalen and Chamberlindalen and to sample fluids from these features, as well as from other non-pingo groundwater springs in the area. The aim was to determine the sources of the fluids and the biogeochemical processes acting on them.

Research Overview

There are five known pingos in the Dunderdalen and Chamberlindalen area. These landforms represent sites where the potential for sub-permafrost fluid (water and gas) escape is very high, as demonstrated in Adventdalen and Reindalen by Hodson et al. (2019, 2020). The research group investigated the geomorphology of the pingos and sampled the groundwaters emerging from them, as well as from other identifiable, non-pingo groundwater springs in the area. These alternative sites included perennial springs draining faults and winter drainage sites at glacier margins.


  1. Water Sampling: Collected water samples for full geochemical characterization to understand the sources of the water and gases, and the biogeochemical processes occurring beneath the permafrost. Anticipated encountering high concentrations of methane in the pingo springs due to fault systems allowing fluid migration from beneath marine clays, which form a tight confining layer at the upper permafrost surface. If successful, this study would document the migration of methane outside the Central Tertiary Basin of Svalbard for the first time, enhancing understanding of sub-permafrost biogenic gas accumulation in areas without coal bed methane and shale gas influence.

  2. Additional Landform Visits: Visited landforms in upper Chamberlindalen to confirm the presence of more pingos than shown on existing maps. This effort contributed to an updated inventory of pingos across Svalbard, undertaken by University of Svalbard researchers, mapping the southernmost pingos on the archipelago.

Fieldwork Logistics

  • Duration: Spent three days in each area, with camping in southern Chamberlinpasset for three nights.

  • Sampling Method: Conducted non-destructive sampling of water and sediment.

This comprehensive study aimed to provide insights into the geomorphology and fluid dynamics of pingos and other groundwater springs in the Dunderdalen and Chamberlindalen areas, contributing valuable data to the understanding of sub-permafrost biogeochemical processes and methane migration in the Arctic environment.

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