The thermal state of permafrost is a crucial indicator of environmental changes occurring in the Arctic. The monitoring of ground temperatures in Svalbard has been carried out in instrumented boreholes, although only few are deeper than 10 m and none are located in southern part of Spitsbergen. Only one of them, Janssonhaugen, located in central part of the island, provides the ground temperature data down to 100 m. Recent studies have proved that significant warming of the ground surface temperatures, observed especially in the last three decades, can be detected not only just few meters below the surface, but reaches much deeper layers. The aim of this paper is evaluation of the permafrost state in the vicinity of the Polish Polar Station in Hornsund using the numerical heat transfer model CryoGrid 2. The model is calibrated with ground temperature data collected from a 2 m deep borehole established in 2013 and then validated with data from the period 1990-2014 from five depths up to 1 m, measured routinely at the Hornsund meteorological station. The study estimates modelled ground thermal profile down to 100 m in depth and presents the evolution of the ground thermal regime in the last 25 years. The simulated subsurface temperature trumpet shows that multiannual variability in that period can reach 25 m in depth. The changes of the ground thermal regime correspond to an increasing trend of air temperatures observed in Hornsund and general warming across Svalbard.
Textural properties and microstructures are commonly used properties in the analysis of Pleistocene and older glacial deposits. However, contemporary glacial deposits are seldom studied, particularly in the context of post-depositional changes. This paper presents the results of a micromorphological study of recently deposited tills in the marginal zones of Hansbreen and Torellbreen, glaciers in southwestern Spitsbergen. The main objectives of this study were to compare modern tills deposited in subglacial and supraglacial conditions, as well as tills that were freshly released from ice with those laid down several decades ago. The investigated tills are primarily composed of large clasts of metamorphic rocks and represent coarse-grained, matrix-supported diamictons. The tills reveal several characteristic features for ductile (e.g. turbate structures) and brittle (e.g. lineations, microshears) deformations, which have been considered to be indicative of subglacial conditions. In supraglacial tills, the same structures are common as in the subglacial deposits, which points to the preservation of the primary features, though the sediment was transferred up to the glacier surface due to basal ice layer deformation and redeposited as slumps, or to formation of similar structures due to short-distance sediment re-deposition by mass flows. This study revealed that it might not be possible to distinguish subglacial and supraglacial tills on the basis of micromorphology if the latter are derived from a subglacial position. The only noted difference was the presence of iron oxide cementation zones and carbonate dissolution features in supraglacial tills. These features were found in tills that were deposited at least a few years ago and are interpreted to be induced by early post-depositional processes involving porewater/sediment interactions.