The Peel Plateau is a fluvially-incised, ice-rich moraine landscape that extends along the eastern margins of the Richardson and Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada. The cold post-glacial climate has maintained continuous permafrost preserving thick layers of relict ground ice in these deposits. The form of the landscape, and the nature of the processes that shape it, are strongly influenced by the glacial legacy which includes large stores of relict late Pleistocene ground ice and glaciogenic materials sequestered in permafrost. Recent climate-driven acceleration of thaw slumping and the development of immense gully-mass wasting complexes in northwestern Canada demonstrates the efficiency of this process in mobilizing glacial sediment stores.
Retrogressive thaw slumping is a highly dynamic thermokarst process. The coupling of thermal and geomorphic processes can expose ground ice directly to surface energy fluxes, rapidly degrading extensive areas of ice-rich terrain and modifying slope and valley configuration. Thaw slumping can transform contemporary proglacial environments; it has reworked the glacigenic deposits found in many temperate landscapes, and it was an important modifier of permafrost terrain during the early Holocene warm period.
Burn, C.R., Esagok, D.S., Kokelj, S.V. and Tunnicliffe, J. 2017. Climate and landslides in continuous permafrost, North Caribou Hills, Mackenzie delta area, western Arctic Canada (Technical Note). (In preparation).
Kokelj, S.V., Lantz, T., Tunnicliffe, J., Segal, R. and Lacelle, D. 2017. Climate-driven thaw of permafrost preserved glacial landscapes, northwestern Canada. Geology. 45(4), 371-374. DOI
Kokelj, S.V., Tunnicliffe, J. and Lacelle, D. 2016. The Peel Plateau of northwestern Canada: an ice rich moraine landscape in transition. In: Landscapes and Landforms of Western Canada. O. Slaymaker, ed. Wiley.
Kokelj, S.V., Tunnicliffe, J., Lacelle, D., Lantz, T.C., Chin, K. & Fraser, R. 2015. Increased precipitation drives mega slump development in ice-cored terrain, Peel Plateau, northwestern Canada. Global and Planetary Change. 129, 56-68.
Kokelj, S. V., Lacelle, D., Lantz, T. C., Tunnicliffe, J., Malone, L., Clark, I. D., & Chin, K. 2013. Thawing of massive ground‐ice in mega slumps drives increases in stream sediment and solute flux across a range of watershed scales. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 118(2), 681-692.