The Toolik Lake Grid map focuses on the south side of Toolik Lake. This area is one of the principal intensive research areas at the Toolik Lake Field Station. It includes many experimental research sites where long-term observations and experiments are being conducted, including the greenhouse and snow-fence experiments. The grid was constructed in 1989 to provide geographic referencing for experimental plots and to provide a sampling scheme for periodic measurements of snow, active layer and plant communities.
The glacial geology of the region affects a wide variety of landscape and ecosystem properties including topography, abundance of lakes, plant production, soil carbon, spectral reflectance, biodiversity, trace-gas fluxes and heat flux of the landscape. Glacial deposits within the Toolik Lake Research Grid are assigned to Itkillik I (late Pleistocene, about 120-150 kya) and Itkillik II (late Pleistocene, about 25-11.5 kya) glaciations of the central Brooks Range glacial succession.