Unexplored Arctic region to be mapped

Sep 03, 2008

A scientific expedition this fall will map the unexplored Arctic seafloor where the U.S. and Canada may have sovereign rights over natural resources such as oil and gas and control over activities such as mining.

Both countries will use the resulting data to establish the outer limits of the continental shelf, according to the criteria set out in the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The extended continental shelf, the seafloor and subsoil beyond 200 nautical miles from shore that meet those criteria, is an area of great scientific interest and potential economic development.

The expedition will be collaboratively undertaken by the U.S. and Canada using two ships. The U.S. Geological Survey will lead data collection from September 6—October 1 on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy to map the Arctic seafloor. The Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada will follow Healy on the Canadian Coast Guard ship Louis S. St. Laurent (Louis) and study the geology of the sub-seafloor.

"The two-ship experiment allows both the U.S. and Canada to collect and share complementary data in areas where data acquisition is costly, logistically difficult, and sometimes dangerous," said USGS scientist Deborah Hutchinson, who will sail aboard Louis. "Both countries benefit through sharing of resources and data as well as increasing likelihood of success by utilizing two ice-breaker ships in these remote areas of the Arctic Ocean."

"Healy will utilize an echo sounder, which emits sounds signals in the water, to map the seafloor. This will be done using a multibeam bathymetry system," said USGS scientist Jonathan Childs, chief scientist on Healy during the September cruise. "Unlike conventional echo sounders, which measure the water depth at a point directly beneath the ship, the multibeam system collects a 'swath' of depth information about 3 km wide along the ship's path, creating a three-dimensional view of the seafloor."

Source: United States Geological Survey

Explore further: Lava creeps toward road on Hawaii's Big Island

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia turns back clocks to permanent Winter Time

11 hours ago

Russia on Sunday is set to turn back its clocks to winter time permanently in a move backed by President Vladimir Putin, reversing a three-year experiment with non-stop summer time that proved highly unpopular.

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

11 hours ago

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact.

Microsoft beefs up security protection in Windows 10

16 hours ago

What Microsoft users in business care deeply about—-a system architecture that supports efforts to get their work done efficiently; a work-centric menu to quickly access projects rather than weather readings ...

Comet Siding Spring whizzes past Mars (Update)

Oct 19, 2014

A comet the size of a small mountain and about as solid as a pile of talcum powder whizzed past Mars on Sunday, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter.

Recommended for you

Icelandic volcano sits on massive magma hot spot

Oct 24, 2014

Spectacular eruptions at Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland have been spewing lava continuously since Aug. 31. Massive amounts of erupting lava are connected to the destruction of supercontinents and ...

NASA sees Tropical Storm Ana still vigorous

Oct 24, 2014

NASA's TRMM satellite saw that Tropical Storm Ana was still generating moderate rainfall is it pulled away from Hawaii. The next day, NASA's Aqua satellite saw that wind shear was having an effect on the ...

User comments : 0