Geological Survey of Canada Contribution No. 49387.
Ice wedges: Growth, thaw transformation, and palaeoenvironmental significance†
Article first published online: 26 JUL 2006
Copyright © 1988 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Journal of Quaternary Science
Volume 3, Issue 1, pages 39–55, 1988
How to Cite
Harry, D. G. and Gozdzik, J. S. (1988), Ice wedges: Growth, thaw transformation, and palaeoenvironmental significance. J. Quaternary Sci., 3: 39–55. doi: 10.1002/jqs.3390030107
- Issue published online: 26 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 26 JUL 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 24 FEB 1988
- Manuscript Received: 10 NOV 1987
- ground ice;
- ice wedge;
- ice-wedge cast
Frost-cracking and ice-wedge growth are fundamental processes within the permafrost environment. Extensive areas of contemporary permafrost terrain are characterised by frost-fissure polygons, formed by repeated thermal contraction-cracking of the ground. The incremental growth of ice veins and wedges along the axes of contraction-cracks contributes significantly to the volume of ground ice in near-surface permafrost. In areas beyond the present limit of permafrost, the recognition of ice-wedge pseudomorphs provides one of the few unambiguous indications of the former existence of permafrost conditions. An understanding of the processes of ice-wedge growth and thaw transformation is essential if contemporary ice wedges are to be used as analogues for Pleistocene frost-fissure structures, in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions.