Integrated Geoscience Studies of the Mackenzie Delta and Nearby Coastal Environments

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, geology, gas seep, greenhouse gases, risk assessment

Principal Investigator: Wright, Fred J (3)
Licence Number: 14213
Organization: Natural Resources Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2004
Issued: Jul 27, 2007
Project Team: Scott Dallimore (Field Assistant, GSC Pacific), Michelle Côté (Researcher, GSC Pacific), Rob Bowen (Field Assitant, GSC Pacific)

Objective(s): Field research for 2007-08 will concentrate on the continued characterization of three of the larger gas seeps observed and reported by the National Energy Board, GSC and Inuvialuit. Reports indicate that some of the larger seeps have been flowing gas at least since the early 1960's. Active gas seeps may represent a significant source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and also constitute a hazard to shallow drilling investigations and winter operations on lakes and river channels.

Project Description: Field research for 2007-08 will concentrate on the continued characterization of three of the larger gas seeps observed and reported by the National Energy Board, GSC and Inuvialuit. Reports indicate that some of the larger seeps have been flowing gas at least since the early 1960’s. Active gas seeps may represent a significant source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and also constitute a hazard to shallow drilling investigations and winter operations on lakes and river channels.

Activity 1: At the Middle Channel sites (69°19'30" / 135°29'15") if time permitting – detailed characterization:
1) Document the physical morphology of active hydrocarbon gas seeps through depth sounding surveys conducted from a small boat for comparison with 2006 results.
2) Characterize water geochemistry, though collection of samples for subsequent laboratory analysis for comparison with 2006 results.
3) Determine the magnitude and variability of gas discharge using portable/hand-held flow measurement devices for comparison with 2006 results to evaluate possible changes in gas flow rates.
4) Identify possible thermal anomalies through direct temperature measurement and/or remote infra-red techniques.
5) Assess local/regional geology to identify the geologic origins of these active gas flows.

Activity 2: At the Big Lake site (69°24'30" / 134°56'30") – reconnaissance only:
Several small seeps at Big Lake will be visited for reconnaissance purposes only (inventory, video and photographs), using helicopter on floats (pending access approval).

Activity 3 – reconnaissance only, possible activity:
During freeze-up in October 2007, conduct an aerial survey to identify additional seeps in the general area of northwest Richards Island (the rectangle defined by 69.5° / 135.6° and 69.2° / 134.8°).
Transportation: Day trips by helicopter from Inuvik and/or daily access by boat from commercial/industry camps. Mainly working from Inuvik but may have summer camp on Richards Island.

Equipment: Small inflatable boat; gasoline outboard motor; various portable water/gas sampling and flow measurement devices.

Method of data collection: Data will be collected from a small inflatable boat using portable water sampling and flow measurement devices.

Sampling information: Water samples at sites may be taken for routine water analysis in a laboratory. In total, no more than 3 litres of water will be taken. No other samples are required for this work.

Published results will be sent to interested communities and regional governing organizations. The geocomplexity program has been described on posters designed for the public (northerners in particular) and displayed at the Inuvik Research Centre. Any paper or digital products produced from this research will be offered to the local libraries and community associations for inclusion in their archives.

Fieldwork will be conducted from August 01 to 20 and October 07 to 27, 2007 at
Big Lake (69°24'30" / 134°56'30"), Middle Channel (69°19'30" / 135°29'15") and the general area of northwest Richards Island (the rectangle defined by 69.5° / 135.6° and 69.2° / 134.8°).