Active layer characterization by instrumented dynamic cone penetrometer in Ny-Alesund, Svalbard

Yong Hoon Byun, Hyung Koo Yoon, Young Seok Kim, Seung Seo Hong, Jong Sub Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Global warming may induce an increase of active layer thickness in the Arctic region. The freezing and thawing of the active layer can damage infrastructures such as roads, railways, and embedded pipe lines in cold regions. A few methods, however, have been proposed to characterize the active layer. The objective of this study is to evaluate the characteristics of the active layer by laboratory and field tests, especially using the instrumented dynamic cone penetrometer (IDCP). Geographical and geological characteristics of Ny-Alesund, Svalbard are introduced, and the geotechnical properties, microstructure observations, and thermal properties of the Ny-Alesund soils are investigated. In addition, subsurface temperatures monitored for a year are discussed. The IDCP, which is able to measure the energies transferred into the rod head and the cone tip, is applied to the evaluation of the strength variation and the thickness of the active layer in Ny-Alesund. During dynamic penetration tests, the IDCP can produce profiles of the corrected cone tip resistance as well as the dynamic cone penetration index (DCPI). The results show that the active layer thickness estimated from the DCPI and corrected cone tip resistance profiles is approximately 1700mm. Furthermore, the bottom of the active layer significantly corresponds to that estimated by the maximum ground temperature profile with a soil thermal diffusivity of 5.5·10-7m2·s-1. This study represents the characteristics of Ny-Alesund soils investigated with a variety of laboratory tests, and suggests that the IDCP may be effectively used for active layer characterization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalCold Regions Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug


  • Active layer
  • Corrected cone tip resistance
  • Instrumented dynamic cone penetrometer
  • Thermal conductivity
  • Transferred energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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