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Deep groundwater circulation through the High Arctic cryosphere forms Mars-like gullies


Grasby, SE and Proemse, BC and Beauchamp, B, Deep groundwater circulation through the High Arctic cryosphere forms Mars-like gullies, Geology, 42, (8) pp. 651-654. ISSN 0091-7613 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Geological Society of America

DOI: doi:10.1130/G35599.1


We report here the discovery of the northernmost known perennial spring, located in the polar desert of the Canadian High Arctic (average precipitation 75.5 mm/yr; average annual air temperature 19.7 C). The high-discharge spring (∼520 L/s) has also anomalously high temperatures (9.0 C), despite occurring in a region of low geothermal gradient and thick (>400 m) permafrost. Active erosion at the spring outlet forms gullies with alcove-channel-apron morphology, remarkably similar to archetypal gullies observed on mid-latitude regions of Mars. Geochemical and isotopic data show a meteoric origin for the waters, demonstrating that deep circulating groundwater systems can form active connections through the cryosphere to the subsurface, even in the absence of thermal anomalies. This discovery challenges current understanding of high-latitude permafrost hydrology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:groundwater, Arctic, Mars
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Hydrology
Research Field:Hydrology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of freshwater quality (incl. physical and chemical conditions of water)
UTAS Author:Proemse, BC (Dr Bernadette Proemse)
ID Code:98034
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2015-01-29
Last Modified:2017-10-30

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