Sulfuric acid speleogenesis associated with a glacially driven groundwater system—Paleo-spring “pipes” at Borup Fiord Pass, Nunavut

Stephen E. Grasby, Benoit Beauchamp, Victor Bense

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Gypsum filled “pipe” features were discovered in the proglacial area of the Borup Fiord Pass supraglacial sulfur spring. Stable isotope data suggest that gypsum is formed through oxidation of sulfides and are consistent with models of sulfuric acid speleogenesis. These results suggest that gypsum pipes are paleo-spring discharge channels analogous to those that feed the modern sulfur spring at Borup Fiord. A conceptual model is proposed whereby retreat of the glacial front and associated growth of permafrost in ground exposed now to low arctic temperatures leads to “freezing-in” of the spring system and abandonment of old channels in favor of more open flow systems in the subglacial region. Results provide a model for glacially driven groundwater systems that may form in association with Mars' polar icecaps and potential geological signatures for paleo-groundwater discharge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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