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Title: Terrain and coastal conditions on the Arctic Alaskan Coastal Plain : arctic environmental data package supplement 1
Authors: United States. Advanced Research Projects Agency
Sellmann, P. V. (Paul V.)
Carey, Kevin L.
Keeler, Charles M. (Charles Martyn)
Hartwell, Allan D.
Keywords: Arctic regions
Coastal topographic features
Topographical surveying
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Special report (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)) ; 165 pt.1.
Description: Special Report
Abstract: This group of four reports describes the characteristics and seasonal variation of prominent relief features on and along the margin of the arctic coastal plain. These relief features include polygonal ground patterns, lake scarps and coastal features. The range of polygonal ground patterns commonly found is illustrated by a number of transects. The influence of the seasonal snow cover on relief is indicated by profiles taken during the summer and the winter. The winter profiles were taken during the period of maximum snow accumulation. The subduing influence of the seasonal snow pack is much more apparent in areas of high relief. Irregularities in the snow surface may approach those found in the more featureless areas of summer relief. A discussion of properties of the snow cover is also included from observations in the Barrow study area. Constant reworking by the wind of small amounts of snow results in a snow surface with high bearing capacity and low (<0.2 m) surface relief. The aerial photo study of the Barrow study area provided statistics concerning the occurrence and amount of relief associated with polygonal ground terrain. Approximately 64% of the area was covered with prominent polygonal ground relief. Polygonal ground patterns with relief >0.5 m and seldom exceeding 1.0 m with 1.5 m being the practical upper limit cover 10.7% of the area. The remainder of the study area can be grouped into two general categories: 1) 53% with polygonal ground relief less than 0.5 m, and 2) 36% containing all other relief categories, including water surfaces . The study of coastal processes and relief features along the northern Alaskan coast was in part based on maps and aerial photos. Mean coastal relief or sea-cliff height was approximately 3.9 m, with about 75% of the coast having 5 m or less relief. Profiles from the Barrow area reveal that the surface geometry of the coast is dramatically altered by the seasonal windblown snow cover which tends to ramp the sea cliffs. The frequency of gullies, streams, embayed rivers and drowned thaw lakes along the coast was examined since they provide "windows" through the scarp and access to inland areas. There are approximately 800 windows along this coast or about 0.4 per km, with a mean width of about 200 m and mean inland extent of .4 km.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Special Report

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