The following thesis is the culmination of a two year study on Svalbard, an archipelago located in the high Arctic. The main purpose of this thesis is to investigate the presence of a karst lake system and its implications for the surrounding periglacial environment at Linnédalen, located in western Spitsbergen. Spitsbergen is the largest island comprising the Svalbard archipelago. The resulting thesis combined data collection in the field, analysis of archived data and consideration of other literature. The objective of the thesis was reached by considering three research questions focusing on the geomorphology, thermal regime, and landscape development of the field site.
Principle data collection methods in the field included geomorphological mapping, bathymetric mapping, temperature logger deployment and instillation, photography, pit excavations, surveying, and water column profiling with data loggers. The primary field period took place over July and August 2012, but other campaigns to the field site occurred between the entire time span of summer 2010 to spring 2013.
The initial results from the study determine that the karst system has an integral role in influencing the geomorphology, ground thermal regime and landscape development at the study site. Geomorphological mapping reveals the importance of both periglacial and karst processes in shaping the study site. The map also gives an insight into how the system has developed throughout the Holocene. Air, water and ground temperature data analysis points to the influence of the karst system on the ground thermal regime, revealing that an active karst system has effect on proximal ground temperatures, possibly altering the state of permafrost in the area. A schematic figure displaying the landscape development details the emergence of the karst lake system and surrounding periglacial environment, beginning with deposition in the late Carboniferous and early Permian and concluding with the current system observed today.