Monday, September 8, 2014

Sorted Polygonal Soil

The land on north Baffin Island is shaped by permafrost and there is very little soil and vegetation cover to hide the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle in the ground above the permanently frozen earth.  The landscape has been shaped by glaciers and meltwater run-off and then by several thousand years of annual freezing and melting cycles.  Patterned ground is common and can happen on a lot of different scales.  Some of the polygons are so large that they are only noticeable from the air, while others are more obvious on the ground.  This patch of sorted polygonal soil measures a couple of metres across. The sandy soil and naturally fractured plates of dolomite exaggerate the effect here.

 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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