Permafrost is warming around the globe, leading to increased geotechnical issues and geohazards in permafrost areas. This is particularly relevant in Svalbard, as it is the fastest warming place on the planet. The PermaMeteoCommunity project (RiS ID 11804) is working to create a climate change response system to increase resilience to these issues. One of the main research ambitions in this project is to create a model of the sediment infilling in Longyeardalen, which will be important information for the response system. Some of the main information needed to construct such a model is the depth of sediments (or depth to bedrock) and layering in the sediments. The purpose of this Arctic Field Grant project is to map the depth to bedrock in Longyearbyen using the refraction seismic technique and ground penetrating radar (GPR).
Several boreholes have been drilled to bedrock in Longyearbyen in the PermaMeteoCommunity project, the RiS ID 11876 project, and for various construction projects. The seismic lines will be placed adjacent to some of these borehole locations for quality control of the data. This is truly unique to have so extensive possibilities for direct checking both depth to bedrock and sediment content. Where the sediment cover is expected to be very thin (ie. less than 10m) GPR will be used as well, as this method has higher resolution than seismics, but a smaller penetration depth. In addition, GPR will be utilized to map depth to bedrock at some hillslope sections where shallow boreholes were drilled in the PermaMeteoCommunity project. Having this information will be important for slope stability modelling that is being undertaken in the PermaMeteoCommunity project.