The Mackenzie Mountains Earthscope Project

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, geology, seismology, remote sensing

Principal Investigator: Schutt, Derek L (3)
Licence Number: 15794
Organization: Colorado State University
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015
Issued: Dec 14, 2015

Objective(s): To study earthquakes and earth and earth structure in the broader northwestern Canadian and Alaskan regions.

Project Description: The Mackenzie Mountains EarthScope project (MMEP) is funded under the EarthScope program of the U.S. National Science Foundation. This project is collaborating with the larger EarthScope USArray project, which will be studying seismicity (earthquakes) and earth structure in the broader northwestern Canadian and Alaskan regions, and with Canadian researchers from several agencies including the Yukon Geological Survey, NWT Geoscience Office, Geological Survey of Canada, Arctic Institute of North America, the University of Ottawa and others.

The project goal is to deploy 40 temporary seismographs and three GPS instruments in a rough line that spans about 1000 km between Skagway, Alaska across the Mackenzie Mountains, to the edge of Great Bear Lake. The research team will also make temporary (few day long) GPS surveys of about 25 survey benchmarks, mostly located along the road system in Yukon. These instruments, combined with others deployed in the region, will provide a better understanding of earthquakes and earth deformation in the area as well as an improved understanding of the fundamental geology of the Mackenzie Mountains extending hundreds of kilometers into the Earth.

The research team expect to begin initial recording in late summer of 2015 (mostly around Whitehorse), and to have all equipment removed by summer of 2018. Formal completion of the project’s research goals will be in 2020.

Representatives from the group will visit Yellowknife, Norman Wells, and Tulita to meet interested community members, discuss the project, and learn about the best possibilities for local outreach. The research team welcome any and all discussions, and will gladly visit any communities.

As the project progresses, the research team hope to visit schools and community centers to engage in informal educational outreach explaining the geological causes (as they are discovered) of the beautiful natural landscapes forming the Northwest Territories and learn from community members.

The research team have also teamed up with Yukon College. Students will be trained in GPS and seismometer deployment skills, and will participate in siting, deployment, and data retrieval.

In collaboration with the Colorado State University (CSU) mentors, students will work on visually identifying useful data for further analysis. This will be integrated into the CSU research component, and then both groups will collaborate on any research products, as co-authors.

Collected data will be stored at the IRIS Data Management Center and UNAVCO within two years of the 2020 end of the project. These are United States funded science facilities that serve as public locations for data storage. Results will be presented in the experiment web page, at scientific meetings, at public lectures, and in scientific journal articles. No aspect of this project is viewed as private or for profit, although the principle investigators’ and their collaborators will analyze the data before the final upload in 2022. The research team welcome new collaborations and questions about what the MMEP is finding, and are happy to give talks to local communities during visits in 2015-2018.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 15, 2016 to August 31, 2016.