Research Topic

Yedoma Permafrost Landscapes as Past Archives, Present and Future Change Areas

About this Research Topic

Ice-rich permafrost deposits of late Pleistocene age (Yedoma Ice Complex) covered several million km2 of the Arctic main land between the Taymyr Peninsula and the Yukon of Northwest Canada, from central Yakutia to the Arctic shelves during the Last Glacial Maximum. Today about 1.9 million km2 in Siberia, Alaska, and Northwest Canada are considered the modern remains of this Yedoma domain. Similar cold and dry climate conditions in different regions contributed to the prevalence of common deposit features such as relative fine-grained sediments, large syngenetic polygonal ice wedges, specific ground ice structures, significant amounts of buried well-preserved organic matter, and fossil remains of the mammoth megafauna and other tundra-steppe fauna and flora fossils. These once extensive periglacial landscapes, developed over tens of millennia in unglaciated regions where late Pleistocene syngenetic permafrost expanded, and degraded on a large scale during the latest Pleistocene and Holocene warming. This period of rapid thaw transformed these areas into lake-rich thermokarst (thaw) landscapes, while extensive continental shelf areas were flooded by the postglacial transgression of Arctic seas. Ice-rich Yedoma deposits are very vulnerable to climate warming, which leads to different landscape changes such as surface subsidence, thermokarst, thermoerosion, deepening of the active layer, as well as remobilization of buried freeze locked organic matter and its contribution to greenhouse gases fluxes.

For this Research Topic we solicit studies focusing on paleo-environmental records documenting the development and changes of Yedoma permafrost landscapes, including data on pollen, plant macro fossils, mammal fossils, insects, crustaceans, diatoms, zooplankton, rhizopods, microbes, ancient DNA, and paleo-landscape and stratigraphic information (grain-size parameters, biomarker, biogeochemical data, stable isotope data, geochronology, cryolithology).

In addition, of interest for this Research Topic are studies focusing on the current state and dynamics of Yedoma landscapes with local to Arctic-wide scope. Assessments of future developments under different warming scenarios are also welcome.

We therefore welcome manuscripts that address different dimensions with past, present and future processes in Arctic Yedoma landscapes:

• Mapping of Yedoma domains;
• Paleo-ecological and cryolithological studies;
• Microbiological studies;
• Studies of modern and future environmental changes;
• Geophysical investigation of permafrost underground;
• Remote sensing studies of landscape changes;
• Simulation of past and of future environmental changes; and
• Biogeochemical inventories and trajectories in permafrost soils.

The different types of articles welcomed by Frontiers in Earth Science should be possible within this Research Topic. The focus will be on Original Research articles.

This Research Topic has been realized in collaboration with Drs Alexander Kizyakov, Andrei Shepelev and Joanne Heslop from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Melnikov Permafrost Institute and the German Research Centre for Geosciences, respectively.


Keywords: permafrost, paleo-environment, model simulations, thermokarst, rapid thaw


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Ice-rich permafrost deposits of late Pleistocene age (Yedoma Ice Complex) covered several million km2 of the Arctic main land between the Taymyr Peninsula and the Yukon of Northwest Canada, from central Yakutia to the Arctic shelves during the Last Glacial Maximum. Today about 1.9 million km2 in Siberia, Alaska, and Northwest Canada are considered the modern remains of this Yedoma domain. Similar cold and dry climate conditions in different regions contributed to the prevalence of common deposit features such as relative fine-grained sediments, large syngenetic polygonal ice wedges, specific ground ice structures, significant amounts of buried well-preserved organic matter, and fossil remains of the mammoth megafauna and other tundra-steppe fauna and flora fossils. These once extensive periglacial landscapes, developed over tens of millennia in unglaciated regions where late Pleistocene syngenetic permafrost expanded, and degraded on a large scale during the latest Pleistocene and Holocene warming. This period of rapid thaw transformed these areas into lake-rich thermokarst (thaw) landscapes, while extensive continental shelf areas were flooded by the postglacial transgression of Arctic seas. Ice-rich Yedoma deposits are very vulnerable to climate warming, which leads to different landscape changes such as surface subsidence, thermokarst, thermoerosion, deepening of the active layer, as well as remobilization of buried freeze locked organic matter and its contribution to greenhouse gases fluxes.

For this Research Topic we solicit studies focusing on paleo-environmental records documenting the development and changes of Yedoma permafrost landscapes, including data on pollen, plant macro fossils, mammal fossils, insects, crustaceans, diatoms, zooplankton, rhizopods, microbes, ancient DNA, and paleo-landscape and stratigraphic information (grain-size parameters, biomarker, biogeochemical data, stable isotope data, geochronology, cryolithology).

In addition, of interest for this Research Topic are studies focusing on the current state and dynamics of Yedoma landscapes with local to Arctic-wide scope. Assessments of future developments under different warming scenarios are also welcome.

We therefore welcome manuscripts that address different dimensions with past, present and future processes in Arctic Yedoma landscapes:

• Mapping of Yedoma domains;
• Paleo-ecological and cryolithological studies;
• Microbiological studies;
• Studies of modern and future environmental changes;
• Geophysical investigation of permafrost underground;
• Remote sensing studies of landscape changes;
• Simulation of past and of future environmental changes; and
• Biogeochemical inventories and trajectories in permafrost soils.

The different types of articles welcomed by Frontiers in Earth Science should be possible within this Research Topic. The focus will be on Original Research articles.

This Research Topic has been realized in collaboration with Drs Alexander Kizyakov, Andrei Shepelev and Joanne Heslop from Lomonosov Moscow State University, Melnikov Permafrost Institute and the German Research Centre for Geosciences, respectively.


Keywords: permafrost, paleo-environment, model simulations, thermokarst, rapid thaw


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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