Start date:
December 2012
End date:
January 2013
F6 / Lakes Bonney and Hoare
Principle Investigator:
Joseph Levy
University of Texas
Water tracks are narrow bands of high soil moisture that route water downslope, in the absence of overland flow, through permafrost dominated soils in polar regions. In water tracks, moisture moves as shallow groundwater, flowing through the permafrost active layer (the seasonally-thawed portion of permafrost) along linear depressions in the ice table (the portion of the permafrost that remains frozen and ice-cemented during summer months), resulting in channelized flow. Water tracks represent a largely unexplored frontier for understanding basic earth processes in Antarctica. This project will quantify the contribution of water tracks to water, solute, and basic carbon cycling on Antarctic hillslopes. Researchers aim to answer several questions about water tracks in Taylor Valley: (1) How much water flows through water tracks every year? (2) How much salt moves from highlands to lowlands in water tracks? (3) How do water tracks affect rock weathering in different lithological terrains? (4) How do water tracks affect Dry Valleys carbon budgets on glacial/interglacial timescales?