Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Permafrost Borehole drilling Ground-penetrating radar Honhor basin Mongolia 

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Arcone SA, Lawson DE, Delaney AJ, Strasser JC, Strasser JD (1998) Ground-penetrating radar reflection profiling of groundwater and bedrock in an area of discontinuous permafrost. Geophysics 63:1573–1584Google Scholar
  2. Arcone SA, Prentice ML, Delaney AJ (2002) Stratigraphic profiling with ground-penetrating radar in permafrost: a review of possible analogs for Mars. J Geophys Res 107(E11):5108. doi: 10.1029/2002JE001906 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Batima P, Natsagdorj L, Gombluudev P, Erdenetsetseg B (2005) Observed climate change in Mongolia. AIACC workings papers 12: 1–26Google Scholar
  4. Brandt O, Langley L, Kohler J, Hamran S (2007) Detection of buried ice and sediment layers in permafrost using multi-frequency ground penetrating radar: a case examination on Svalbard. Remote Sens Environ 111:212–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Pascale GP, Pollard WH, Williams KK (2008) Geophysical mapping of ground ice using a combination of capacitive coupled resistivity and ground-penetrating radar, Northwest Territories, Canada. J Geophys Res 113:15. doi: 10.1029/2007JF000585 Google Scholar
  6. Doolittle J, Nelson F (2009) Characterising relict cryogenic macrostructures in mid-latitude areas of the USA with three-dimensional ground-penetrating radar. Permafr Periglac Process 20:257–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hinkel KM, Doolittle JA, Bockheim JG, Nelson FE, Paetzold R, Kimble JM, Travis R (2001) Detection of subsurface permafrost features with ground-penetrating radar, Barrow, Alaska. Permafr Periglac Process 12:170–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M and co-authors (eds) Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 996 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Ishikawa M, Sharkhuu N, Zhang Y, Kadota T, Ohata T (2005) Ground thermal and moisture conditions at the southern boundary of discontinuous permafrost, Mongolia. Permafr Periglac Process 16:209–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jin H, Yu Q, Lv L, Guo D, He R, Yu S, Sun G, Li Y (2007) Degradation of permafrost in the Xing’anling Mountains, Northeastern China. Permafr Periglac Process 18:245–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Moorman BJ, Robinson SD, Burgess MM (2003) Imaging periglacial conditions with ground-penetrating radar. Permafr Periglac Process 14:319–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Sandmeier KJ (2010) Reflex 5.5 manual: sandmeier software, Zipser Strabe 1, D-76227 Karlsruhe, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  13. Sharkhuu N (2003) Recent changes in the permafrost of Mongolia. In: Phillips M et al (eds) Proceedings of the 8th international conference on permafrost. A. A. Balkema, Brookfield, pp 1029–1034Google Scholar
  14. Sharkhuu N, Sharkhuu A, Romanovsky VE, Yoshikawa K, Nelson FE, Shiklomanov NI (2008) Thermal state of permafrost in Mongolia. In: Kane DL, Hinkel KM (eds) Proceedings of the 9th international conference on permafrost, Institute of Northern Engineering. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, pp 1633–1638Google Scholar
  15. Sodnom N, Yanshin AL (1990) Geocryology and geocryological zonation of Mongolia. Digitized 2005 by Parsons M.A. Boulder, CO, National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology, Digital MediaGoogle Scholar
  16. Stevens CW, Moorman BJ, Solomon SM, Hugenholtz CH (2009) Mapping subsurface conditions within the near-shore zone of an Arctic delta using ground penetrating radar. Cold Reg Sci Technol 56:30–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Tumurbaatar B, Mijiddorj B (2006) Permafrost and permafrost thaw in Mongolia. In: Goulden CE et al (eds) The geology, biodiversity and ecology of lake Hovsgol (Mongolia). Backhuys publishers, Leiden, pp 41–48Google Scholar
  18. Wu T, Li S, Cheng G, Nan Z (2005) Using ground-penetrating radar to detect permafrost degradation in the northern limit of permafrost area on the Tibetan Plateau. Cold Reg Sci Technol 41:211–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wu T, Wang Q, Watanabe M, Chen J, Battogtokh D (2009) Mapping vertical profile of discontinuous permafrost with ground penetrating radar at Nalaikh depression, Mongolia. Environ Geol 56:1577–1583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Yang M, Wang S, Yao T, Gou X, Lu A, Guo X (2004) Desertification and its relationship with permafrost degradation in Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau. Cold Reg Sci Technol 39:47–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Yoshikawa K, Leuschen C, Ikeda A, Harada K, Gogineni P, Hoekstra P, Hinzman L, Sawada Y, Matsuoka N (2006) Comparison of geophysical investigations for detection of massive ground ice (pingo ice). J Geophys Res, 111(E06S19):10. doi: 10.1029/2005JE002573 Google Scholar
  22. Zhao L, Wu Q, Marchenko SS, Sharkhuu N (2010) Thermal state of permafrost and active layer in Central Asia during the international polar year. Permafr Periglac Process 21:198–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations