Expedition Bykovsky Peninsula 2017

Degradation of sub-aquatic permafrost can, impact offshore infrastructure, affect coastal erosion and release large quantities of methane, which may reach the atmosphere and function as a positive feedback to climate warming. The degradation rate depends on the duration of inundation, warming rate, sediment characteristics, the coupling of the bottom to the atmosphere through bottom-fast ice, and brine injections into the sediment. The relative importance of these controls on the rate of sub-aquatic permafrost degradation, however, remains poorly understood.

Therefore, the overarching science goal for the 2017 Bykovsky Spring Expedition was to evaluate the nature and distribution of subaquatic permafrost and taliks in multiple cryostratigraphic settings with drilling, sampling, near-surface geophysics and temperature sensors. The primary sites included a large freshwater body (Golzovoye Lake), a shallow salty lagoon eroding into both Yedoma and Alas permafrost (Omulyakh Lagoon), as well as a saltwater body within a partially drained Alas (Polar Fox Lake Lagoon).

The Alfred Wegner Institute (AWI) worked together with colleagues from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and the University of Potsdam (UniP), as well as Russian colleagues from the Melnikov Permafrost Institute (MPI), Institute for Petroleum and Geology and Geophysics (IPGG), and ground-penetrating radar specialists from Timer LLC.