Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-68
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-68
16 Feb 2024
 | 16 Feb 2024

Effect of surficial geology mapping scale on modelled ground ice in Canadian Shield terrain

H. Brendan O'Neill, Stephen A. Wolfe, Caroline Duchesne, and Ryan J. H. Parker

Abstract. Ground ice maps at circumpolar or hemispherical scales offer generalised depictions of abundance across broad geographic regions. In this paper, the effect of surficial geology mapping scale on modelled ground ice abundance is examined in the Slave Geological Province of the Canadian Shield, a region where the geological and glacial legacy has produced a landscape with significant variation in surface cover. Existing model routines from the Ground ice map of Canada (GIMC) were used with a 1:125 000 scale regional surficial geology compilation and compared to the national outputs, which are based on surficial geology at 1:5 000 000 scale. Overall, the regional scale modelling predicts much more ground ice than the GIMC due to greater representation of unconsolidated sediments in the region. Improved modelling accuracy is indicated by comparison of outputs to available empirical datasets due to improved representation of the inherent regional heterogeneity in surficial geology. The results demonstrate that the GIMC significantly underestimates the abundance and distribution of ground ice over Canadian Shield terrain. In areas with limited information on ground ice, regional-scale modelling may provide useful reconnaissance-level information to help guide field-based investigations required for planning infrastructure development. The use of current small-scale ground ice mapping in risk or cost assessments relating to permafrost thaw may significantly influence accuracy of outputs in areas like the Canadian Shield where surficial materials range from bedrock to frost-susceptible deposits over relatively short distances.

H. Brendan O'Neill, Stephen A. Wolfe, Caroline Duchesne, and Ryan J. H. Parker

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-68', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-68', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Mar 2024
H. Brendan O'Neill, Stephen A. Wolfe, Caroline Duchesne, and Ryan J. H. Parker
H. Brendan O'Neill, Stephen A. Wolfe, Caroline Duchesne, and Ryan J. H. Parker

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Short summary
Maps that show ground ice in permafrost at circumpolar or hemispherical scales offer only general depictions of broad patterns in ice content. In this paper, we show that using more detailed surficial geology in a ground ice computer model significantly improves the depiction of ground ice and makes the mapping useful for assessments of the effects of permafrost thaw and for reconnaissance planning of infrastructure routing.