The deep-seated lowland relict permafrost from the Suwałki region (NE Poland) – analysis of conditions of its development and preservation

Jan Szewczyk


The Udryń PIG 1 research borehole drilled in northeastern Poland (54°14’49”N, 23°03’29”E, 223 m a.s.l.) revealed a permafrost layer, at least 93 m thick, within the sedimentary succession below a depth of 357 m. The base of the permafrost has not been reached at 450 m depth, where the drilling stopped, so its total present thickness remains unknown. The relict permafrost, unexpected in this part of Central Europe, is in the ice-water transition phase at a temperature slightly below the 0°C. Analysis of geophysical and hydrogeological data indicates the possibility of preserving the permafrost in the central part of sedimentary cover of the Suwałki Anorthosite Massif over an area of probably 50 km2. Preliminary results of geothermal modelling indicate maximum palaeothickness of permafrost at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum of probably ~600 m. The development of such a thick permafrost results both from a very low average annual temperature in the Weichselian Glaciation and a very low terrestrial heat flow density. It is very probable that similar zones of deep relict permafrost occurrences, undetected so far, may exist in other areas of the Precambrian Platform not only in Poland, but also in the neighbouring countries.


relict permafrost; palaeoclimate; Weichselian Glaciation; terrestrial heat flow; cryogenic groundwater; Suwałki Anorthosite Massif

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