Chemical data are presented for water from 22 lakes in small upland catchments (<20 ha) between Inuvik and Richards Island, Northwest Territories, Canada. Eleven of the basins appear pristine and 11 are affected by thermokarst slumping. The mean dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration of the pristine lakes (16.3 mg/l) is greater than the mean concentration of lakes disturbed by thermokarst slumping (10.5mg/l). In pristine lakes, mean concentrations of Ca, Mg and SO4 are 9.6, 3.6 and 11.1 mg/l, but in lakes affected by thermokarst, mean concentrations are 72.6, 26.8 and 208.2 mg/l, respectively. Soluble materials released from degrading permafrost are transported to lakes by surface runoff, elevating concentrations in lake water. The percentage of total basin area influenced by thermokarst is positively associated with ionic concentrations in lake water and inversely related to DOC. Thermokarst occupying as little as 2% of catchment area may modify the chemistry of lake water, and water quality may remain affected for several decades after slump development has ceased. Aerial photographs indicate that 5 to 15% of all lakes and ponds in four 49 km2 areas between Inuvik and Richards Island are small (median size <2 ha) with catchments affected by thermokarst. Copyright

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Permafrost and Periglacial Processes
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Kokelj, S.V., Jenkins, R.E., Milburn, D., Burn, C, & Snow, N. (2005). The influence of thermokarst disturbance on the water quality of small upland lakes, Mackenzie Delta region, Northwest Territories, Canada. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 16(4), 343–353. doi:10.1002/ppp.536