Experimental Study of the Growth and Stable Water Isotopes of Ice Formed by Vapour Deposition in Cold Environments

Title: Experimental Study of the Growth and Stable Water Isotopes of Ice Formed by Vapour Deposition in Cold Environments
Authors: Brasseur, Philippe
Date: 2016
Abstract: Ice formed by water vapour deposition has been identified in different terrestrial environments: 1) in the atmosphere; 2) at the ground’s surface; 3) in caves; 4) in seasonally frozen ground; and 5) in perennially frozen ground (permafrost). Thus far, ground ice formed by diffusion and deposition of vapour in soils (types 4 and 5) has rarely been studied in a natural setting and remains one of the most poorly described ice types on Earth. This thesis focuses on the dynamics of deposition and sublimation of atmospheric water vapour into permafrost and the isotopic signature (D/H and 18O/16O) of the emplaced ground ice under different experimental conditions. Ground ice was produced in sediments with different thermo-physical characteristics (glass beads, JSC Mars-1 simulant). After a two-month growth period, the higher porosity sediments (JSC) had more than 7x the gravimetric water content than the lower porosity soil. Ground ice profiles had a distinct concave downwards shape due to the decrease in saturation vapour pressure with depth. Results also indicate that vapour deposited ground ice has a distinct δD-δ18O composition that plots near regression slope value of 8. Pore water isotopes plot below the global meteoric water line (GMWL) when the source of moisture is directly on top of the sediments. If an air gap is introduced between the source of moisture and the sediments, the pore water isotopes shift above the GMWL due to re-sublimation at the ground surface. Overall, this thesis addressed some fundamental knowledge gaps required to better understand the growth and isotopic evolution of ground ice emplaced by vapour deposition. 
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34487
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -