Back from Cartwright - A little about Palsas

July 28, 2014

Back from fieldwork in Cartwright where we spent most of last week doing field and geophysics based work near the community. We also drilled a borehole 5.7 m deep into the permafrost to monitor temperature variations deep below the ground surface.

The interesting thing about Cartwright is that almost all of the permafrost that we encountered in this area was located under and along the margins of elevated mounds of frozen peat called 'Palsas'.

Figure 1: Image of a Palsa near Cartwright, Labrador

Palsas are often found at the southernmost/lowermost limits of permafrost zones because they represent small isolated patches of permafrost surrounded by typically non-permafrost terrain.

In Labrador, Palsas are sometimes used to store Komatiks on their surface because they remain windblown in the Winter allowing for easy access to their Komatiks when embarking on the land.

We are interested in hearing of more locations which have these mounds - please contact us if there are any locations you can think of where these features can be found!

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Northern Environmental Geoscience Laboratory

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We are always on the look-out for more information on permafrost conditions in Labrador. If you have any experiences with frozen ground or any thoughts or ideas on its occurrences please contact us using either the Contact Us / Contribute page or the information in the sidebar.