Geological Fieldwork in Mackenzie Plain and Adjacent Mountains

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, geological mapping, geology, rock

Principal Investigator: MacNaughton, Robert B. (8)
Licence Number: 14567
Organization: Geological Survey of Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2012 2011 2010 2009
Issued: Jul 14, 2009
Project Team: Karen Fallas (Research Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada), Thomas Hadlari (Stratigrapher, Northwest Territories Geoscience Office), Len Gal (Petroleum Geologist, Northwest Territories Geoscience Office), Matthew Sommers (Student Assistant, Geological Survey of Canada), Student Assistant (Student Assistant, Geological Survey of Canada)

Objective(s): The objectives of this study are to increase the geoscience knowledge of the NWT, particularly around Norman Wells and Tulita, and in the surrounding mountains; to provide public geoscience information to all stakeholders through the production of bedrock geology maps and related reports on petroleum potential; to encourage new and more effective exploration for oil and gas that will lead to socially and environmentally responsible resource development.

Project Description: The objectives of this study are:
• To increase the geoscience knowledge of the NWT, particularly around Norman Wells and Tulita, and in the surrounding mountains.
• To provide public geoscience information to all stakeholders through the production of bedrock geology maps and related reports on petroleum potential.
• To encourage new and more effective exploration for oil and gas that will lead to socially and environmentally responsible resource development.

All field work will be done by small crews working mainly on foot. Helicopters will set out crews, pick them up, and ferry them between rock outcrops. Base camps will be in communities or lodges. In 2009, the researchers will work out of Norman Wells. The work will consist of examination, description, measurement, and photography of outcrops. Rock samples (most the size of a fist, less commonly the size of 1-2 loaves of bread) will be taken from some outcrops. Sampling is done with hammers and chisels (no explosives or heavy equipment). Samples will be studied to learn the ages of rock units and what rock units might be important for oil & gas exploration. Data will be used to learn how rock units extend across the study area.

Information from these studies will be of interest to various stakeholders (e.g., people interested in the local environment, petroleum exploration companies, researchers, land-use planners), and can assist in making informed land-use decisions.

This work may help stakeholders, including local communities, to understand what areas are promising or not for oil and gas exploration. It will not necessarily lead to new exploration or economic development in the area but it can help communities understand their land’s resource potential and develop it wisely.

When feasible, accommodation and transportation will be obtained from local suppliers. Most provisions will be purchased from local stores. The project may be able to hire local students to work with field parties for the two main summer field seasons (2010, 2011). This will provide learning opportunities, as will school presentations.

Copies of maps and reports arising from this research will be available for free download at the Natural Resources Canada “Geopub” website at http://geopub.nrcan.gc.ca/index_e.php, or through the Northwest Territories Geoscience Office at http://www.nwtgeoscience.ca/services/gateway_help.html. GSC reports and maps also can be provided directly to local communities. Following each field season, a plain-language summary of the season's work will be provided to local communities. Visits to interested communities to present the progress of the research to schools and/or community groups can be arranged.

The researchers must seek approval from the Land Corporations before accessing Sahtu Private Lands.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 15 to August 15, 2009, on the Mackenzie River Plain, Franklin Mountains (and NE of that) and parts of the Mackenzie Mountains. Data collection will occur within an area with the following 10 corners: 66 deg. N, 128 deg. W; 66 deg. N, 124 deg. W; 65 deg. N, 124 deg. W; 65 deg. N, 125 deg. W; 63 deg. 53' N, 125 deg. W; 63 deg. 53' N, 126 deg. W; 64 deg. N, 126 deg. W; 64 deg. N, 127 deg. W; 64 deg. 30' N, 127 deg. W; 64 deg. 30' N, 128 deg. W. A map has been mailed to the organizations in the distribution list, and is available from the researchers, or from the ARI licencing office.