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Seasonal cryogenic processes control supra-permafrost pore water chemistry in two contrasting Cryosols

Abstract : Over the last decades, Arctic landscapes have experienced intense warming leading to permafrost degradation and rapid ecosystem changes. Active layer thickening, widespread melting of ground ice and thermo-erosion have affected the mobilization of organic and mineral elements. While the carbon and nitrogen cycles are intensively studied, the soil weathering has been less documented. In the present study, we monitored the chemistry of soil capillary and gravitational pore waters, rainfall and stream waters daily during the growing season in two experimental sites under tussock tundra vegetation in the low-Arctic region, in Salluit (Nunavik, Canada). We aimed to investigate the seasonal thaw controls on the evolution of concentrations of major organic and inorganic elements in the active layer (i.e., seasonally thawed surface layers) of two permafrost soils (Cryosols) differing in parental materials: an ombrotrophic bog (i.e., Histic Cryosol) and post-glacial marine sediments continuously waterlogged (i.e., Turbic Cryosol). In the Histic Cryosol, the electrical conductivity was <100 µS cm−1 and Cl− and Na+ were the dominant soluble ions originating from atmospheric depositions. In the Turbic Cryosol, decarbonated in the first 40 cm, Ca2+ and Mg2+ were the dominant soluble ions in the capillary water reflecting the dissolution of soil minerals, while Cl− and SO42− dominated in gravitational water, illustrating inputs from uphill. In the two soils, Ca2+ and Mg2+ concentrations as well as Mg/Na and Ca/Na increased with depth. Along summer, the soil pore water chemistry evolved with thaw front and water table depths in the two sites. Particularly in the Histic Cryosol, electrical conductivity, solute concentrations, Mg/Na and Ca/Na ratios increased with the thaw front deepening. Our observations suggest that the active layer thickening and increasing supra-permafrost flow contribution, expected to increase with Arctic warming, could lead to a shift in chemistry of pore waters in organic and mineral permafrost soils, differently depending on permafrost landform settings. Previous article in issue
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Julien Fouché, Camille Bouchez, Catherine Keller, Michel Allard, J. P. Ambrosi. Seasonal cryogenic processes control supra-permafrost pore water chemistry in two contrasting Cryosols. Geoderma, Elsevier, 2021, 401, pp.115302. ⟨10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115302⟩. ⟨insu-03274382⟩



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