Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geology)

First Advisor

Dr. Sean P. Bemis

Abstract

The subarctic boreal forest biome is predicted to experience higher magnitudes of warming than other biomes due to climate change. The effects of this warming will be pronounced in areas underlain by discontinuous permafrost where melting permafrost and distinct changes in vegetation patterns are expected. To better understand rates of hillslope diffusion in the boreal forest I have used a geomorphic process modeling approach, using data from a sequence of Quaternary fluvial terraces located in the Nenana River valley of central Alaska. I hypothesized that diffusion rates here would be slower when compared to the mid-latitudes, and faster on north versus south-facing slopes. Calculated diffusion rates do support the hypothesis as they fall on the lower end of the global spectrum of documented hillslope diffusion rates. However, a significant difference in diffusion rates is not seen between the predominantly northeast and southwest facing slopes used in this study.

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