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Summary of Proposal GEO2733

TitleThe study of Cold Debris flow in Northern Alaska with TerraSAR-X images: Part 2 study of 2015 - 2016
Investigator Gong, Wenyu - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute
Team Member
Dr. Darrow, Margaret - University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Engineering and Mines
Dr. Meyer, Franz - University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute
SummaryA frozen debris lobe (FDL) is encroaching on the Dalton Highway near MP219. FDLs appear to consist of soil and rock, debris, and potentially ice, although only preliminary surface investigations have been conducted on these features thus far. Our knowledge of FDLs is rudimentary, and we have more questions than answers about their internal stratigraphy and mechanisms of movement. Preliminary studies indicate that the FDL at MP 219 is moving towards the Dalton Highway at an average rate of 1 cm per day, and is currently less than 70 m from the roadway.When it arrives at the highway, it will deliver about 22,000 tons of debris a year. For a sense of scale,imagine a 50-ton truck dumping 440 truck-loads of debris onto the highway annually. Should this mass of moving material further encroach upon the Dalton Highway, it may impede the flow of essential goods and services to the oil and gas fields on the North Slope,resulting in severe economic loss. Even before entering the highway right-of-way, this FDL is affecting the highway by depositing a large volume of sediment against the highway embankment, which has destroyed drainage by completely burying one culvert and partially burying a second. We also have an approved separated proposal (GEO2722)for archive data over the same area. Together with that, our research group will use radar interferometry and/or offset tracking techniques to retrieval the movement profile of FDLs in recent years. The goals is to monitor its movement to determine the nature of the shear zone, rate and timing of movement, and analysis the slope stability, which would be overall contribute to develop mitigation strategies of potential damage to the FDLs. For the data associated with this general proposal, we will use TSX data in meter-resolution-scale to study FDLs for 2015-2016.

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