• Thermokarst evolution and sediment transport study in the Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed, Alaska

      Kodial, Prathap (2005-12)
      The role of sediment transport processes in the development and evolution of cryogenic features like thermo karsts have been overlooked by researchers. The current study is an attempt to better understand sediment transport and associated processes underlying the rapid growth of a thermokarst located in the Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed. Within a short span of two warm summers, the study area has progressed from a hummocky terrain to a well incised channel configuration. Suspended sediment concentration and discharge analyses indicate high sediment flow following precipitation events, which play a major part in the sediment transport process. Mass sediment flows due to cryogenic piping were a result of interflow within the active layer. Fluvio-thermal erosion triggered block failures in the thermokarst. Topographical surveys spanning the two field seasons quantify the upstream erosion rate of more than 3.5 meters per year. Accelerated growth of the thermokarst has made the adjacent areas highly susceptible to secondary geomorphologic features.