, 4:13 | Cite as

Sediment characteristics of a thermokarst lagoon in the northeastern Siberian Arctic (Ivashkina Lagoon, Bykovsky Peninsula)

  • Lutz Schirrmeister
  • Mikhail N. Grigoriev
  • Jens Strauss
  • Guido Grosse
  • Pier Paul Overduin
  • Aleksander Kholodov
  • Frank Guenther
  • Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten
Original Article


Lagoon development in ice-rich permafrost environments such as the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coastline and the Yedoma coastlines of northern Siberia represents a key mechanism of marine inundation of permafrost along the Arctic coastal plains. Here we show lithological, geochronological, and geochemical data from a core drilled in 1999 in Ivashkina Lagoon on the Bykovsky Peninsula in northeastern Siberia. This study extends previous studies of the Ivashkina Lagoon, and provides a first dated geochronological context for sedimentation and lithological characteristics. In addition, we report ground temperature measurements from different borehole sites in and around the lagoon to support our analysis of the thermokarst lagoon environment. Furthermore, a change detection study was carried out using historical aerial photography and modern satellite imagery for the 1982–2016 period. Several stages of landscape dynamics were reconstructed, starting with an initial Yedoma Ice Complex that covered the area during the late Pleistocene and which was locally thawed by thermokarst lake development during the Late Glacial with subsequent lacustrine sedimentation. A final stage completed the landscape dynamics during the last few hundreds of years. This stage was characterized by lake drainage and lagoon development, including strong reworking of surface sediments. By extrapolating the organic carbon data from Ivashkina Lagoon to the lagoons of the Bykovsky Peninsula, we estimate that lagoons contain 1.68 ± 0.04 Mt of organic carbon in their upper 6 m.


Permafrost region Coastal dynamics Paleoenvironment Cryolithology Geochronology Hydrochemistry 



This work is part of the international Russian-German drilling project Bykovsky Spring 2017. We gratefully acknowledge support for this study by the BMBF project CarboPerm, the ERC #338335, and the Helmholtz Strategy and Networking Fund via ERC-0013. We thank Antje Eulenburg for help with hydrochemical lab work and Dyke Scheidemann for the sediment lab work. We also thank the team of Janet Rethemeyer from the Cologne AMS Laboratory. We thank Vladimir. E. Tumskoy from the Moscow State University for his support during field work in 1999. Finally, the paper benefited from English language corrections by Candace O’Connor (Fairbanks, Alaska) and the constructive comments of the two anonymous reviewers.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Periglacial ResearchAlfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Mel’nikov Permafrost InstituteSiberian Branch of the Russian Academy of SciencesYakutskRussia
  3. 3.Institute of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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