Рус Eng During last 365 days Approved articles: 2065,   Articles in work: 293 Declined articles: 786 

Back to contents

Arctic and Antarctica

Yedomas in Alaska and Klondike with well-defined cyclic qualities
Vasil'chuk Yurii Kirillovich

Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy

Professor, the department of Geochemistry of Landscapes and Soil Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University

119991, Russia, Moscow, ul. Leninskie Gory, 1, of. 2009
Другие публикации этого автора



The object of this research is the yedomas in Alaska and Klondike with the well-defined cyclic qualities. The author examines the mesocyclic polygonal-lode complex McLeod Point, mesocyclic polygonal-lode complex  on the Itkillik River, mesocyclic polygonal-lode complex in Chatanika, mesocyclic polygonal-lode complex  in the Last Chance Creek valley, mesocyclic polygonal-lode complex in the Fox permafrost tunnel, mesocyclites in the Seward Peninsula, Colville River valley, the northern slope of Alaska, and Klondike near Dawson City. The main research method contains the analysis of cryolithological structure, radiocarbon dating, oxygen-isotope and hydrogen-isotope data. The main result of the conducted research lies in identification of mesocyclites in the Alaska and Klondike yedomas, such as: a) there are three vertical growth mesocyclitic stages in the MacLeod Point yedoma; b) four vertical growth mesocyclitic stages are common in the Chatanika yedoma; c) at least four vertical growth mesocyclitic stages are identified in the Itkillik yedoma; d) at least four vertical growth mesocyclitic stages are revealed in the Fox permafrost yedoma; e) at least four vertical growth mesocyclitic stages are tiers are distinguished in the Last Chance Creek valley; f) large, two or more layered syngenetic lodes are detected in the Seward Peninsula, Colville River valley , and the northern slope of Alaska yedomas – two-layered lodes; g) Klondike yedoma, near the Dawson City, is characterized with powerful two-three layered syngenetic lodes.

Keywords: deuterium, oxygen isotopes, radiocarbon, yedoma, ice wedge, permafrost, Late Pleistocene, syngenetic, cyclicality, Alaska and Yukon



Article was received:


Review date:


Publish date:


This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

Vasil'chuk Yu.K. Model' tsiklicheski-pul'siruyushchego formirovaniya singeneticheskikh tolshch s moshchnymi povtorno-zhil'nymi l'dami // Kriosfera Zemli, 1999, tom 3, №2, s.50–61.
Kotsebu O.E. Puteshestvie v Yuzhnyi okean i v Beringov proliv dlya otyskaniya severo-vostochnogo morskogo prokhoda, predprinyatoe v 1815, 1816, 1817 i 1818 godakh izhdiveniem Ego Siyatel'stva, Gospodina Gosudarstvennogo kantslera, Grafa Nikolaya Petrovicha Rumyantsova na korable Ryurik pod nachal'stvom flota leitenanta Kotsebu. Spb., ch. 1 i 2, 1821. ch. 1 – 358 c.
Black R.F. Three superposed systems of ice wedges at McLeod Point, Northern Alaska, may span most of the Wisconsinan stage and Holocene // Permafrost. Fourth International Conference, Proceedings. Fairbanks. Alaska. National Academy Press. Washington, 1983, p. 68–73.
Black R.F. Fabrics of ice wedges in central Alaska. Proceedings of the ThirdInternational Conference on Permafrost, Edmonton, July 10–13, 1978. National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, 1978, p. 248–253.
Bray M.T., French H.M., Shur Y. Further cryostratigraphic observations in the CRREL permafrost tunnel, Fox, Alaska // Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 2006, vol. 17 (3), p. 233–243.
Brewer M.C., Carter L.D., Glenn R. Sudden drainage of a thaw lake on the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain // Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Permafrost, July 5–9, Beijing, China. South China University of Technology Press, 1993, p. 48–53.
Brown J., Kreig R.A. (Eds.) Guidebook to permafrost and related features along the Elliott and Dalton Highways, Fox to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, 1983, 230 p.
Cantwell J.C. A narrative account of the exploration of the Kowak River, Alaska,under the direction of Capt. Michael A. Healy, commanding U.S. Revenue steamer. 1887.
Carter L.D. Loess and deep thermokarst basins in Arctic Alaska. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Permafrost. Tapir publishers, Trondheim, Norway, 1988, p. 706–711.
Fortier D., Kanevskiy M., Shur Y. Genesis of reticulate-chaotic cryostructure in permafrost // Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost, June 29 – July 3, 2008. Kane D.L., Hinkel K.M. (Eds.). Fairbanks, Alaska: Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, vol. 1, 2008, p. 451–456.
Farquharson L., Walter Anthony K., Bigelow N., Edwards M., Grosse G. Facies analysis of yedoma thermokarst lakes on the northern Seward Peninsula, Alaska // Sedimentary Geology, 2016, vol. 340, p. 25–37 doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2016.01.002
Fraser T.A., Burn C.R. On the nature and origin of “muck” deposits in the Klondike area, Yukon Territory // Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 1997, vol. 34, p. 1333–1344.
French H.M. The Periglacial Environment, 4th Edition. Wiley. 2018. 544 p.
Froese D.G., Zazula G.D., Westgate J.A., Preece S.J., Sanborn P.T., Reyes A.V., Pearce N.J.G.2009. The Klondike goldfields and Pleistocene environments of Beringia // GSAToday, 2009, N19(8), p. 4–10. doi:10.1130/GSATG54A.1.
Hamilton T.D., Geologic road log, Alyeska haul road, Alaska. June–August 1975: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 79–227, 1979, 64 pp.
Hamilton T.D., Craig J.L., Sellmann P.V. The Fox permafrost tunnel: A Late Quaternary geologic record in central Alaska // Geological Society of America. Bulletin, 1988, vol. 100, N6, p. 948–969.
Hopkins D.M. Geology of the Imuruk Lake area, Seward Peninsula, Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1141-c, 1963, 101 pp.
Hopkins D.M., Kidd J.G. Thaw lake sediments and sedimentary environments // Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Permafrost. Tapir publishers, Trondheim, Norway, 1988, pp. 790–795.
Kanevskiy M. Z., French H. M., Shur Y. L. (eds.) A Guidebook prepared by the: Institute of Northern Engineering University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2008, 22 p.
Kanevskiy M., Shur Y., Fortier D., Jorgenson M.T., Stephani E. Cryostratigraphy of late Pleistocene syngenetic permafrost (yedoma) in northern Alaska, Itkillik River exposure // Quaternary Research, 2011, vol. 75, p. 584–596.
Kanevskiy M.Z., Shur Yu.L., Jorgenson M.T., Ping Ch.-L., Fortier D., Stephani E., Dillon M. Permafrost of Northern Alaska // Proceedings of the Twenty-first (2011) International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference, Maui, Hawaii, USA, June 19-24, 2011, p. 1179–1186.
Kanevskiy M., Fortier D., Shur Y., Bray M., Jorgenson T. Detailed cryostratigraphic studies of syngenetic permafrost in the winze of the CRREL permafrost tunnel, Fox, Alaska // Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost, June 29–July 3, 2008, Fairbanks, Alaska. Kane, D.L., Hinkel, K.M. (Eds.): Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, vol. 1, 2008, p. 889–894.
Kotler E., Burn C.R. Cryostratigraphy of the Klondike “muck” deposits, west-central Yukon Territory // Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 2000, vol. 37(6), p. 849–861.
Kreig R.A., Reger R.D. Air-photo analysis and summary of landform soil properties along the route of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. DGGS, College,Alaska, Geologic report, 66, 1982, 149 p.
Lapointe E.L., Talbot J., Fortier D., Fréchette B., Strauss J., Kanevskiy M., Shur Y. Middle to Late Wisconsinan climate and ecological changes in northern Alaska: Evidences from the Itkillik River Yedoma // Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2017, Vol. 485, p. 906–916. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.08.006
Lawson D.E. Long-term modifications of perennially frozen sediment and terrain at East Oumalik, northern Alaska / CRREL report 82-36, 1982, 33 p.
Lawson D.E. Ground ice in perennially frozen sediments, northern Alaska // Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Permafrost. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1983, p. 695–700.
Lawson D.E. Response of permafrost terrain to disturbance: a synthesis of observations from Northern Alaska, U.S.A.// Arctic and Alpine Research, 1986, vol. 18 (1), p.1–17. doi: 10.1080/00040851.1986.12004058.
Livingstone D.A., Bryan Jr. K., Leahy R.G. Effects of an Arctic environment on the origin and development of freshwater lakes // Limnology and Oceanography, 1958, vol. 3, iss.2, p. 192–214. doi: 10.4319/lo.1958.3.2.0192.
Mackay J.R. Some observations on the growth and deformation of epigenetic, syngenetic and anti-syngenetic ice wedges // Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 1990, vol. 1, N1, p. 15–29. doi: 10.1002/ppp.3430010104.
Maddren A.G. Smithsonian explorations in Alaska in 1904. Smithsonian Misc. Coll. 49, 1905, p. 1–117.
Matheus P., Begét J., Mason O., Gelvin-Reymiller C. Late Pliocene to Late Pleistocene environments preserved at the Palisades Site, central Yukon River, Alaska // Quaternary Research, 2003, vol. 60, iss.1, p.33–43. doi: 10.1016/S0033-5894(03)00091-7
Meyer H., Yoshikawa K., Schirrmeister L., Andreev A., The Vault Creek Tunnel (Fairbanks Region, Alaska) — a Late Quaternary Palaeoenvironmental Permafrost Record // Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Permafrost, June 29 – July 3, 2008, Fairbanks, Kane D.L., Hinkel K.M. (Eds.). Alaska: Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, vol. 2, 2008, p. 1191–1196.
Muhs D.R., Budahn J.R. Geochemical evidence for the origin of late Quaternary loess in central Alaska // Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 2006, vol. 43, p. 323–337.
Pewe T.L. Quaternary Geology of Alaska. Geological Survey Professional Paper 835. A study of the glacial, periglacial, eolian, fluvial, lacustrine, marine, and volcanic deposits of Quaternary age in Alaska and paleoclimatic fluctuations of glaciers and permafrost and changes in the distribution of plants and animals. United States Government Printing Office, Washington. 1975. 145 p. (3P 2U563)
Porter L. Jack Wade Creek: an in situ Alaskan late Pleistocene vertebrate assemblage // Arctic, 1986, vol. 39, p. 297–299.
Porter, L., Late Pleistocene fauna of Lost Chicken Creek, Alaska // Arctic, 1988, vol. 41, p. 303–313.
Porter T.J., Froese D.G., Feakins S.J., Bindeman I.N., Mahony M.E., Pautler B.G., Reichart G.-J., Sanborn P.T., Simpson M.J., Weijers J.W.H. Multiple water isotope proxy reconstruction of extremely low last glacial temperatures in Eastern Beringia (Western Arctic) // Quaternary Science Reviews, 2016, vol. 137, p. 113-125. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.02.006
Prindle L.M., A geologic reconnaissance of the Fairbanks Quadrangle, Alaska. USGS Bulletin, 525. Government printing office, Washington, 1913, 220 p.
Quackenbush L.S. Notes on Alaskan mammoth expeditions. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. Bul., 1909, vol. 26, p. 87–130.
Sanborn P.T., Smith C.A. S., Froese D. G., Zazula G.D., Westgate J. A. Full-glacial paleosols in perennially frozen loess sequences, Klondike goldfields, Yukon Territory, Canada // Quaternary Research, 2006, vol. 66, p. 147–157.
Schirrmeister L. , Meyer H., Andreev A., Wetterich S., Kienast F., Bobrov A., Fuchs M. C., Sierralta M., Herzschuh U. Late Quaternary records from the Chatanika River valley near Fairbanks (Alaska) // Quaternary Science Reviews, 2016, vol. 147, p. 259–278. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.02.009
Sellmann P.V. Geology of the USA CRREL permafrost tunnel, Fairbanks, Alaska. Hanover, New Hampshire, US Army CRREL Technical Report, N199, 1967, 22 p.
Shur Y., French H.M., Bray M.T., Anderson D.A. Syngenetic permafrost growth: cryostratigraphic observations from the CRREL Tunnel near Fairbanks, Alaska // Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 2004, vol. 15 (4), p. 339–347.
Smith P.S. The Noatak-Kobuk region, Alaska // U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin, N536, 1913, 160 p.
Taber S. Perennially frozen ground in Alaska: its origin and history. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 1943, vol. 54, p. 1433–1548.
Tuck R. Origin of the muck-silt deposits at Fairbanks, Alaska // Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 1940, vol. 51, p. 1295–1310.
Vasil’chuk Yu. K. Syngenetic ice wedges: cyclical formation, radiocarbon age and stable-isotope records // Permafrost and Periglacial Processes. 2013. Vol. 24. N1. P. 82–93. DOI: 10.1002/ppp.1764
Vasil'chuk Y.K. Cyclocryostratigraphy of yedoma. Part 2 // Arctic and Antarctic, 2017, N2, p. 54–99. doi: 10.7256/2453-8922.2017.2.22328
Wilkerson A.S. Some frozen deposits in the goldfields of interior Alaska. American Museum Novitates, N525, 1932, 22 p.
Williams J.R. Geologic reconnaissance of the Yukon Flats district, Alaska. U.S. // Geological Survey Bulletin 111-H, Washington, DC, 1962, p. 290–311.
Williams J.R., Yeend W.E., Deep thaw lake basins in the inner Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska. In: Johnson, K.M., Willi J.R. (Eds.), U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska: accomplishments during 1978: USGS Circular, 804-B, 1979, p. 35–B37.