Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 7, pp 1869–1876 | Cite as

Investigating internal structure of permafrost using conventional methods and ground-penetrating radar at Honhor basin, Mongolia

  • Tonghua Wu
  • Qinxue WangEmail author
  • Lin Zhao
  • Erji Du
  • Wu Wang
  • Ochirbat Batkhishig
  • Dorjgotov Battogtokh
  • Masataka Watanabe
Original Article


A ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey was conducted at the end of August 2009 in the suburb region of Ulaanbaatar, Honhor basin, Mongolia, in combination with conventional methods such as borehole drilling and measurement of ground temperatures. The interface of frozen and unfrozen sediment was distinctly resolved in the interpreted GPR images, verified by the borehole drilling records and 6-month measurement of ground temperatures. The location of the permafrost table was assessed to be at the depth of 2–4 m in the study region. A conspicuous ice-saturated soil layer (massive ground ice) was detected in the interpreted GPR images with a thickness of 2–5 m. The GPR investigation results were consistent with the borehole drilling records and ground temperatures observation. The borehole logs and ground temperatures profile in the borehole indicates that permafrost at Honhor basin is characterized by high ground temperature and high ice content, which implies that ongoing climatic warming would have great influence on permafrost dynamics. The research results are of great importance to further assess permafrost dynamics to climatic change in the boundary of discontinuous and sporadic permafrost regions in Mongolia in the future.


Permafrost Borehole drilling Ground-penetrating radar Honhor basin Mongolia 



The study conducted in this paper is funded by the project “Establishment of Early Observation Network for the Impacts of Global Warming”, sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Japan. This research is also supported by the Global Change Research Program of China (2010CB951402), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant numbers: 40901042) and the Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (51Y251571). The authors also would like to thank all the staff from the Institute of Geography, Mongolian Academy of Sciences for their logistic supports to the fieldwork. Finally, the constructive suggestions from two anonymous reviewers and editor-in-chief are especially appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tonghua Wu
    • 1
  • Qinxue Wang
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lin Zhao
    • 1
  • Erji Du
    • 1
  • Wu Wang
    • 1
  • Ochirbat Batkhishig
    • 3
  • Dorjgotov Battogtokh
    • 3
  • Masataka Watanabe
    • 4
  1. 1.Cryosphere Research Station on the Qinghai-Tibet PlateauState Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.Center for Regional Environmental ResearchNational Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Geography, Mongolian Academy of SciencesUlaanbaatarMongolia
  4. 4.Graduate School of Media and GovernanceKeio UniversityFujisawaJapan

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