Subpermafrost groundwater aquifers are found in Ny-Ålesund, western Svalbard. Recharge of groundwater takes place along the base of the nearby glaciers, and groundwater flows in open bedrock fracture systems and porous sedimentary rocks. A subpermafrost sandstone with a primary porosity of more than 10% makes up a pore aquifer with a considerable storability. The water discharges into one of the old coal mines, with a flow rate of 11.5 1/s measured in the summer and fall of 1993 and 1994. There was a considerable discharge during the winters 1993 and 1994, a discharge making up nearly the whole annual water budget from the upper part of the Vestre Lovénbreen. Similar situations are found in other places on Svalbard and may have an important influence upon the glaciers' hydrological regime. The groundwater system in Ny-Ålesund is manipulated by human activity. Outflow channels in the old coal mines probably have increased discharge relative to an undisturbed system and may locally have melted the permafrost. The groundwater flow is an efficient mechanism for transferring geothermal heat, and may have an important influence locally upon the permafrost distribution on part of Svalbard.

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