Permafrost Investigations on the MacKenzie Highway in Alberta and MacKenzie District

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TypeTechnical Report
Series titleTechnical Paper, Division of Building Research, National Research Council Canada; Issue 175
Physical description65 p.
SubjectPermafrost; Soils; climates; landforms
AbstractField investigations were preceded by examination of aerial photographs to identify the various types of terrain, character of the relief, vegetation and surface drainage. These studies are part of on-going studies to determine in particular the distribution and character of permafrost along the southern fringe area where construction is complicated by the irregular occurrence of perennially frozen ground in the proximity of 32 degrees F. In this area the existence of permafrost is greatly influenced by the microclimate and local terrain conditions. Distribution of permafrost along the MacKenzie Highway between Hay River NWT and Keg River, Alta., is patchy and erratic. It occurs only in low areas and in some of the river valleys tributary to the Hay River. Drainage is one of the main terrain factors influencing the existence of permafrost, but it is so closely interrelated with vegetation that it is difficult to assess the contribution of each separately. The absence of permafrost between High Level and Keg River is related to the widespread poor drainage along this section. Occurrences of permafrost between High Level and Meander River are restricted to the only three Sphagnum areas between these settlements. Extensive low areas with Sphagnum probably containing permafrost, exist away from the Mackenzie Highway. South of Hay River it appears that terrain factors are the most important determining factors. The situation is similar at Thompson, Man. and in other areas along the southern fringe of the permafrost region.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number7885
NPARC number20358861
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Record identifier48600255-e03d-4a64-886d-437c4c3fd2d8
Record created2012-07-20
Record modified2016-10-03
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