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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 1135–1144 | Cite as

Characteristics of permafrost along Highway G214 in the Eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

  • Yu Sheng
  • Yuan-bing Cao
  • Jing LiEmail author
  • Ji-chun Wu
  • Ji Chen
  • Zi-liang Feng
Article

Abstract

The characteristics of the permafrost along National Highway No. 214 (G214) in Qinghai province (between kilometer markers K310 and K670), including the distribution patterns of permafrost and seasonally frozen ground (SFG), ground ice content and mean annual ground temperature (MAGT), were analyzed using a large quantity of drilling and measured ground temperature data. Three topographic units can be distinguished along the highway: the northern mountains, including Ela Mountain and Longstone Mountain; the medial alluvial plain and the southern Bayan Har Mountains. The horizontal distribution patterns of permafrost can be divided into four sections, from north to south: the northern continuous permafrost zone (K310-K460), the island permafrost zone (K460-K560), the southern continuous permafrost zone (K560-K630), and the discontinuous permafrost zone (K630-K670). Vertically, the permafrost lower limits (PLLs) of the discontinuous zone were 4200/4325 m, 4230/4350 m, and 4350/4450 m on the north-facing/south-facing slopes of Ela Mountain, Longstone Mountain and Bayan Har Mountains, respectively. The permafrost was generally warm, with MAGTs between –1.0°C and 0°C in the northern continuous permafrost zone, approximately –0.5°C in the island permafrost zone, between –1.5°C and 0°C in the southern continuous permafrost zone, and higher than –0.5°C in the discontinuous permafrost zone. In contrast, the spatial variations in ground ice content were mainly controlled by the local soil water content and lithology. The relationships between the mean annual air temperature (MAAT) and the PLLs indicated that the PLLs varied between –3.3°C and –4.1°C for the northern Ela and Longstone Mountains and between –4.1°C and –4.6°C in the southern Bayan Har Mountains.

Keywords

Permafrost characteristics National Highway No. 214 (G214) Eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Temperature 

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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu Sheng
    • 1
  • Yuan-bing Cao
    • 1
  • Jing Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ji-chun Wu
    • 1
  • Ji Chen
    • 1
  • Zi-liang Feng
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Frozen Soil Engineering, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research InstituteChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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