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Farquharson, L.M., 2012

Sedimentology of thermokarst lakes forming in yedoma on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska

Bibliographic Reference

Farquharson, L.M., 2012, Sedimentology of thermokarst lakes forming in yedoma on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks, M.S. thesis, 157 leaves.


Thermokarst lakes forming in yedoma (organic-rich permafrost containing massive syngenetic Pleistocene ice wedges) play an important role in periglacial landscape evolution. These lakes alter landscape elevation and topography, as well as redistribute upland sediment into lower basins. However, sediment deposition within yedoma thermokarst lakes is not well understood. Sedimentological, biogeochemical and macrofossil analyses enabled identification of five prominent fades in yedoma thermokarst lakes in my study region on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska. These include a Yedoma Taberal Silt facies situated below a sub-lacustrine unconformity, three types of basal facies and a Lacustrine Silt facies. A preliminary geomorphological model based on sediment cores from mature yedoma thermokarst lakes illustrates how fades distribution changes through the different stages of lake development. First-generation lakes (those forming in undisturbed upland) and later-generation lakes (those forming in thermokarst-affected lowland) were present on the northern Seward Peninsula. A comparison between these two lake types indicates that the depositional environments of later-generation lakes are much more variable than first-generation lakes. Understanding the depositional history and development of yedoma thermokarst lakes is critical to understanding their role in landscape evolution and the carbon cycle.

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