Landscapes of the Mackenzie River delta and of the Tuktoyaktuk peninsula as possible analogues for the study of Martian landform development

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, geology, permafrost, cold-climate processes, geomorphological processes, thermokarst

Principal Investigator: Soare, Richard J (5)
Licence Number: 13817
Organization: Dept of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University
Licenced Year(s): 2009 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: May 26, 2005
Project Team: J.M. Wan Bun Tseung (Lead Field Assistant, Concordia University), Dr. Ernest Lo (Field Assistant, McGill University), Claude Peloquin (Field Assistant, McGill University), Lindsay McGraw (Field Assistant, Concordia University), Tiffany Auerbach (Field Assistant, Concordia University)

Project Description: The research objective is to sample the active layer of the permafrost in areas where patterned ground and thermokarst are present. The data gained will help the researchers to understand possible cold-climate processes in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

The researchers will be based in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. They intend to visit areas in the vicinity of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk where patterned ground is present. The areas will be visited on foot, with the assistance of a local guide. Some soil sampling will take place. However, the samples will be small (ml in volume) and acquired by the use of hand-held tools such as spades or shovels. Most of the work will be obervational and based upon measurements taken with compasses,laser range finders, tape measures and hand-held global positioning system terminals. The researchers plan to be in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk from the 12th of June through to the 25th of June 2005. They would like to present their findings from last year's field work at public meetings in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk respectively.

Research assistants will
1. be taught to interpret and to use topographic maps and air photos to identify important landforms
2. learn to use hand held global positioning terminals and laser range finders
3. help dig small soil pits and help to identify different soil and ground ice types in the region
4. be introduced to photographs of the Martian landscape and learn to identify landforms that are common to Mars and Earth.
Each of these activities will improve the assistant’s scientific understanding of the processes involved in forming a cold-climate landscape and give him/her practical, hands-on field experience in geology and geomorphology. These skills are valuable and highly marketable.

The study will be conducted in the immediate vicinity of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk where patterned ground and thermokarst are present.