Canada-Korea-USA Beaufort Sea Geoscience Research Program: 2017 Activities

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: oceanography, Beaufort Sea, seismic survey, gas hydrates, subsea permafrost

Principal Investigator: Jin, Young K (1)
Licence Number: 16158
Organization: Korea Polar Research Institute
Licensed Year(s): 2017 2014 2013
Issued: Aug 16, 2017
Project Team: Scott Dallimore (Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada), Seung Goo Kang (Scientist, Korea Polar Research Institute), Jong Kuk Hong (Scientist, Korea Polar Research Institute), Ned King (Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada), Mathieu Duchesne (Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada), Michelle Côté (Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada), Charles Paull (Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Objective(s): To acquire geoscience knowledge about the outer shelf of the Beaufort Sea with intent to address knowledge gaps related to thawing of subsea permafrost and gas hydrates.

Project Description: The agencies involved are undertaking this research to acquire geoscience knowledge about the outer shelf of the Beaufort Sea with intent to address knowledge gaps related to thawing of subsea permafrost and gas hydrates. The research will be made publicly available to northern communities, regulators, the scientific community and industry through the release of scientific papers, maps and reports.

Building on a successful marine geoscience programs onboard the RV Araon in the Canadian Beaufort Sea in 2013 and 2014, the Korea Polar Research Institute, Natural Resources Canada and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute are continuing their scientific collaboration and are currently planning the 2017 Canada-Korea-USA Beaufort Sea Geoscience Research Program.

The Program will be conducted using the RV Araon. The Program is scheduled to be in Canadian waters for a maximum of 15 days between August 29 and September 13, 2017, in the southern Beaufort Sea within the boundaries of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR). The Program will operate in water depths ranging from 20 m to 2000 m.

The 2D seismic data will be collected using a Sercel GI Gun System with two airguns. This seismic source is about much smaller than volumes commonly used in industry or commercial surveys.

Oceanographic data collection will include water column characterization through conductivity, depth, temperature instruments and oceanographic moorings to measure and record data on ice thickness and ridging, storm waves, sea level, ocean current, temperature, salinity and plankton density. Bathymetric data collection will be completed through the use of a multibeam echo sounder. Sub-bottom profiling,
used for characterizing layers of sediment or rock under the seafloor, will be conducted through the use of a deep-tow profiling system that uses a pneumatic pressure pulse or the hull-mounted transducers on the RV Araon. Sediment coring provides physical seabed sample data, and will be completed through a small sampling pipe that penetrates the seabed and retrieves a tube (core) of intact sediment.

Surveys using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) specially designed for Arctic operations will be undertaken. The AUV is capable of detailed seabed mapping using multi-beam sonar with centimetre-scale resolution. If features of interest are identified in the AUV surveys, the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) will be deployed to visually through live-video to examine seafloor features.

All activities will be completed from the RV Araon. The RV Araon is a ‘state of the art’ modern ice class vessel, measuring 111 m long by 19 m wide. It was built in 2009 and is registered in South Korea. It can accommodate a crew of 25 with 60 passengers. The vessel is equipped with crew quarters, a galley, food storage areas, fresh water treatment equipment, a wastewater treatment system and solid waste storage.

A post-field report and copies of all scientific contributions (scientific papers, maps, and databases) will be provided to the communities in the ISR through their Hunters and Trappers Committees and through the Aurora Research Institute. The science crew may post blog entries to website which would be accessible by the public during and after Program operations.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 29, 2017 to September 30, 2017.