Small-scale dynamics of Arctic coastal sediments: Isbjornhamna, Svalbard

A multidisciplinary survey of Isbjornhamna (Hornsund) coastal zone for investigation of local sediment erosion / transport / deposition processes characteristics, and also for detailed imaging of the internal structure of the bay's sediments.

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Project type

  • arctic field grant (afg)


  • geology
  • oceanography

Project Keywords

  • oceans / coastal processes / sediment transport
  • oceans / bathymetry/seafloor topography / bathymetry
  • oceans / coastal processes / fjords
  • oceans / coastal processes / sedimentation
  • oceans / coastal processes / beaches
  • oceans / marine sediments / sedimentary structures
  • oceans / coastal processes / shorelines
  • oceans / coastal processes / rocky coasts
  • oceans / coastal processes / erosion
  • oceans / coastal processes / shoreline displacement

Fieldwork information

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In the summer of 2018 I plan a 2-month research in which I will focus on investigating the near-shore features of sediments in Isbjornhamna, using a variety of methods including sub-bottom profiling (SBP), side-scan sonar mapping, GPR profiling (as an extension of SBP on land). Complementary activities will consist of sediment sample collection via grabs and sediment traps, pressure and ADCP based wind wave monitoring, photographic (structure-from-motion - SFM) and laser scan survey. All mentioned activities will be performed within several hundred meters of PPS, on both the shallow inshore and backshore. By the above I plan to achieve the goals as follows: • Create detailed image of morphology and internal sediment structure of Isbjornhamna’s coastal zone, • Investigate storm-induced changes in coastal zone’s morphology and structure in absence of shore ice • Assess the local sources and sinks in sediment transport The hypotheses to investigate are that it is possible to create detailed profile images of arctic beach by combining GPR and SBP profiles, and that by creating two consecutive surface snapshots of polar coast separated by the event influencing their morphodynamics (e.g. storm) it is possible to assess local redeposition of sediment. Planned field activities demand dynamical scheduling and swift execution, as carrying out some of the tasks is highly dependent on weather conditions (wind speed, wave height and ice presence). Therefore, field assistant will be required. A person experienced with most of aforementioned activities and also familiar with the study area would be the best choice. This description fits a former whole-year PPS crew member, ideally, the marine observer. Part of fieldwork will be additionally assisted by Dr Mateusz Moskalik (IGF PAS), as our time spent in field in the coming season will overlap. This research is convergent with the ongoing project: Coastal Link – from source to sink (RIS-ID:10584) and will be important case study of the mixed-type coast under direct marine regime. It is to be a part of long-term collaboration between researchers from the Institute of Geophysics PAS, the University Centre in Svalbard and other collaborating institutions. In Autumn 2018, the collected data are to be processed and analyzed using a variety of specific software packages as well as custom-developed routines in Matlab. The datasets resulting from the field work will be distributed to the collaborators and will be available on request.

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