Exceptional and persistent warm temperatures recorded during July 2007 at Cape Bounty, Melville Island, Canada (74°54′N, 109°35′W), resulted in rapid and deep active layer formation. The thickened active layer, together with up to 10.8 mm of rainfall in late July, resulted in widespread active layer detachments across the West watershed during 23–31 July. Mapping indicates that approximately 1.9% of the watershed was directly impacted by disturbances. By contrast, only two small detachments occurred in the adjacent East watershed.
The immediate fluvial impact of the detachments was primarily in the form of abrupt, short-lived rises in river turbidity, along with a more gradual increase in discharge and overall turbidity. Sediment transport pulses resulted from the hydrological connection of major detachment slides, most of which were upslope from the main channel. The largest detachment dammed the river over a length of 200 m, and resulted in an upstream pond and prolonged increased sediment transport. In total, the increased sediment transport during the last week of July amounted to an estimated 44.3 Mg, or 18% of the seasonal yield. While the detachments had an immediate and substantial impact on river conditions, erosion of unstable material is likely to have a sustained impact on watershed fluxes in future years.