Beaufort Shelf Seabed Mapping Project

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, bathymetry, seabed mapping

Principal Investigator: Blasco, Steve M (9)
Licence Number: 14394
Organization: Natural Resources Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Issued: Jul 11, 2008
Project Team: Robert Harmes (Survey Techician, Geological Survey of Canada), Anthony Atkinson (Electronics Technician, Geological Survey of Canada), Walli Rainey (GIS Specialist, Geological Survey of Canada), Kevin MacKillop (Geotechnicial Engineer, Geological Survey of Canada), Kate Jarrett (Survey Technician, Geological Survey of Canada), Vladimir Kostylev (Benthic Ecologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Lise Chapman (Marine Biologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Robbie Bennett (Marine Geologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Pat Campbell (Survey Navigation, Geological Survey of Canada), Andrew Campbell (Marine Geologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Carrie Breton (Marine Geologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Blaine Carr (Electronics Technician, Geological Survey of Canada), Kathy Conlan (Marine Biologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Anna Pienkowski-Fruze (Geologic Technician, Geological Survey of Canada ), Alec Aiken (Marine Biologist, Geological Survey of Canada), Quinn Eggertson (Marine Biologist, Geological Survey of Canada), James Power (Geotechnical Technician, Geological Survey of Canada), Leith MacLeod (Geological Technician, Geological Survey of Canada), Jodi Felix (Geologic Student, Geological Survey of Canada)

Objective(s): The objective of the seabed mapping program is to conduct a regional survey of the Beaufort shelf. Ice scouring processes, benthic habitats, abandoned artificial islands, pingo-like features, gas seeps, seafloor foundation conditions, subsea permafrost and slope stability will be investigated.

Project Description: The objective of the seabed mapping program is to conduct a regional survey of the Beaufort shelf. Ice scouring processes, benthic habitats, abandoned artificial islands, pingo-like features, gas seeps, seafloor foundation conditions, subsea permafrost and slope stability will be investigated. This research is designed to assess the environmental impact of offshore hydrocarbon exploration and transportation on the renewable resources of the Beaufort Sea. A knowledge of the deepest ice scours cutting into the seabed will constrain engineering design of subsea pipeline burial depths and minimize the potential of pipeline failures by ice keel impact. A knowledge of the location and sensitivity of unique seabed habitats related to sustaining the renewable resources of the Beaufort Sea is required to provide a basis for assessing the impact of proposed offshore pipeline routes, exploration and production sites on the Beaufort ecosystem. In addition, seabed mud volcanoes and gas seeps will be investigated to determine if they are actively venting biogenic or petrogenic gases which may form the basis of a unique ecosystem. Abandoned artificial islands will be investigated as hazards to navigation and impediments to ice flow dynamics. Subsea permafrost will be investigated as a potential hazard to hydrocarbon production structures.

The Coast Guard vessel CCGS Nahidik will be used as the research platform to collect seabed sediment samples, bottom photographs and videos as well as to conduct offshore acoustic/sonar surveys of the seabed. Sea-ice and sea-state conditions and the distribution of marine mammals will control the access to research sites.

This project will employ a northern community student. The student will participate in field program activities on board CCGS Nahidik and assigned projects related to marine biology, geology, and hydrography with the idea that these projects will be submitted to their classroom after the field program.
The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 15 to September 22, 2008. The survey area includes the Canadian Beaufort continental shelf and is bounded by 131°00' to 141°00'West longitude and 69°30' to 71°00'North latitude. Exact locations to be surveyed on the shelf in any one year are dependent on weather and sea-ice conditions.