Environmental Change in the western Canadian Arctic Islands
Principal Investigator: England, John H (15)
Licence Number: 13997
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
Issued: Jun 08, 2006
Project Team: Roy Coulthard (Researcher - Prince Patrick Island, University of Alberta), Jonathan Doupe (Researcher - Prince Patrick, Eglinton, and Melvill, University of Alberta), Eli Nasogaluak (Research Assistant - Prince Patrick Island, Aurora College), Vernon Amos (Research Assistant - Prince Patrick Island, Aurora College), Steven Curley (Research Assistant - Eglinton and Melville islands, Nunavut Arctic College), Chantel Nixon (Researcher - Eglinton and Melville islands, University of Alberta)

Project Description: Geological mapping and sampling, radiocarbon dating, and cosmogenic dating techniques will be used to reconstruct sea level change and glacier dynamics for Prince Patrick, Eglinton, and Melville islands since the last glaciation.

In order to better understand possible future climatic conditions, it is important to obtain palaeoenvironmental data from these regions. The broad objective is to obtain a long-term paleo-climatic record from glacial landforms and past higher sea levels. This will help to determine what climatic conditions favoured the build-up and removal of ice sheets in the western Arctic during the past ~30,000 years, and place recent decreasing sea ice and glacier retreat in a broader context. Additionally, past and present rates of sea level change (which are currently rising) will be investigated.

Ancient shorelines, now far inland (above modern sea level), will be mapped. Fossils frequently observed on these shorelines, and related raised marine sediments, will be collected and radiocarbon dated. A small number of fossil mollusks will be collected from each site, and a few grams of driftwood will be sampled. Sample locations will be mapped using GPS and an altimeter. Radiocarbon dates and raised shoreline locations will be used to calculate rates of sea level change in the past. Researchers and equipment will be placed into field camps at Prince Patrick Island and Eglinton Island via aircraft and helicopter. Transects will be conducted by helicopter and ATV from these camps. Travel by ATV will be limited to gravel and beaches to prevent terrain damage. All waste will be flown out at the end of the field season.

A plain language summary of the research will be provided to the communities and the Aurora Research Institute. Lectures will be given in the Natural Resources Technology Program at Aurora College in the fall of 2006
The study will be conducted at Western Melville Island (west of 110° and north of 75°)
Eglinton Island
Prince Patrick Island
Closest community: Sachs Harbour (~400-550 km)

Prince Patrick Camp #1 (Walker Inlet): N 76° 12' W 120° 50'
Prince Patrick Camp #2 (Mould Bay): N 76° 18' W 119° 40'
Eglinton Island Camp #1: N 75° 36’ W 119° 18’
Eglinton Island Camp #2: N 75° 32’ W 118° 37’