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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

The role of vegetation distribution on facies architectural and sequence stratigraphic development of the Palaeocene Firkanten Formation.

Awarded: NOK 63,999

The study focuses on how coastal environments control or are controlled by vegetation distribution; collectively, these are particularly sensitive to climate change, with the geomorphology and position of the shoreline being closely linked with local hydrology and associated vegetation distribution, in particular peatlands. For this purpose, the Palaeocene Firkanten Formation (Todalen Member), located in High-Arctic Svalbard, is ideal because it consists of coastal and terrestrial deposits punctuated by abundant coal seams. Fieldwork will be concentrated on outcrops near to Longyearbyen with high-resolution sedimentology aided by 3D digital outcrop models (DOM) acquired with UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, i.e. drone) and/or LiDAR will supplement preliminary sedimentological descriptions of the SNSK (Store Norske) drill cores located and available for inspection in Endalen. 3D UAV imagery will be used to create geomorphological models of high detail as well as gather information on previously inaccessible, though well exposed, Firkanten Formation outcrops; in particular the superbly exposed Fuglefjellet, west of Bjørndalen. For this project, bad weather conditions will be the biggest challenge as heavy rain can induce rock fall and slope failures which potentially change the study site to a high risk area. Additionally high winds would make polar circle transits difficult or cancelled. Due to the study area being located near Longyearbyen the feasibility of the fieldwork is still high as the project manager will be staying in Longyearbyen a longer period which ensures flexibility of field days to accommodate any days with bad weather conditions.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

Thematic Areas and Topics