Describes the organization and functions of this institute under the Northern Sea Route Board. Its duties, eight departments, laboratories, staff, library, museum, etc. are noted as visited in 1963; work of its North Pole drifting stations 1-11 mentioned. About 70 % of the Institute's research effort is devoted to the Arctic.
Reports on Cree Indian lodges as observed in an area northeast of Lake Mistassini in 1953. Remains of an earth-covered conical lodge, four house pits, and a log cabin are described, also an occupied cabin. The dwellings span a 50-75 yr. period; their locations in relation to the lake, floor excavation, etc. indicate they were used during the early winter. According to informants, the area was visited at approx. 10-yr intervals, each site occupied once and only one at a time. Transition from earth-covered conical lodges to European-style cabins is noted, also distribution of the conical lodge in the Eastern Canadian Subarctic.
Considers postglacial climatic changes in northern Mackenzie District, from palynological and other evidence. Peat from exposures in two areas, also alluvial sediments from a drill hole were analyzed; pollen diagrams with radiocarbon control are presented for the peat. From these investigations and geomorphic interpretation of the exposures, fossil evidence, etc., a tentative climatic sequence is proposed; deglaciation about 12,000 yrs ago, a cool-dry climate 8500-7500 B.P., a warmer and drier period, and increased moisture and cooling climate in late postglacial time. The last changes are indicated by increases in alder and Ericaceae and formation of pingos.
Reports 1954 investigations of plant plankton with special attention to the quantitative dynamics of different taxonomic groups of flagellates. Samples were taken June 12-Sept. 7 at 25 stations in six ecological niches and cycles: below the ice, meltwater pools, coastal and offshore (to about 10 mi) leads, lagoons and lakes along the shore, inshore waters, sandy and muddy sites. The species found and listed include 90 diatoms, 79 dinoflagellates, 19 minor flagellates, 12 algae, and 18 ciliates. Among them are five new species for which taxonomic description is given, as it is for Amphidiopsis kafoidi Woloszynska, a rare species previously known only from the Baltic.
Describes a calcium hexahydrate found in Ika Fjord, south of Ivigtut Peninsula. Samples collected from the bottom of a skerry in Aug. 1962 were examined; optical data and chemical determinations are given. The new mineral, to be called ikaite, is apparently formed through the action of bicarbonate-carrying springs at the bottom of the fjord. It may occur widely in cold waters.
Discusses the effects of rapid transition to western culture, as investigated at Kaktovik on Barter Island since 1958. Due to various factors, noted, this community adjusted to wage labor at a nearby DEW Line radar installation without undue disruption. The effects on individual mental health, as indicated by the Cornell Medical Index questionnaire, were examined in 1960. Results suggest that individuals whose knowledge of white culture was less than their degree of identification with it tended to be more emotionally disturbed than those whose knowledge matched or exceeded their identification. Women showed more symptoms of disturbance than men; other demographic factors (age, education, etc.) had no apparent influence.
Discusses the effectiveness of sampling devices demonstrated by summer 1962 field use in northern Yukon and laboratory tests in Mar. 1963. Hand drilling in Yukon Territory produced excellent cores, but the cutting teeth in the ice-corer were quickly dulled from mineral matter; holes 7-8 ft deep required three hrs drilling. Tests with power drives indicated that a two-man team could core a frozen bog 8 ft deep in 30-45 min. The two types of power units tested: a McCulloch chainsaw motor, and a Haynes earth drill, were both adequate; details are given.
Describes 1961-1962 investigations mainly to determine the events responsible for a system of canyons in the Grand Falls area. Directions of ice movement, orientation and composition of till-fabric, and patterned ground were examined; samples from peat bogs were analyzed and radiocarbon-dated. It is tentatively concluded that: the landforms were shaped by ice movements from the southwest and later the northwest; and most of the canyon formation occurred before deglaciation (about 5700 yrs ago) while the level of the ice surface and the water table within the ice were falling, and the ratio of water to ice increasing.
Notes summer 1963 observations of Ovibos moschatus. On a reconnaissance flight over the northern third of the island on Aug. 2 nearly sixty were seen, indicating greater abundance than hitherto supposed. Only two were seen south of the reconnaissance area during a two-month period; apparently they concentrate in the northern part at least during the summer.
George M. Douglas (1875-1963), engineer and explorer, died at his home in Lakefield, Ontario, Canada earlier this year. He was born in Halifax, N.S., Canada and received his education in Canada and Great Britain. During a long career as engineer and consulting engineer in Mexico and Arizona, U.S.A. he led five expeditions into the regions around Great Bear and Great Slave lakes in the Northwest Territories of Canada. He was mainly interested in copper and other mineral deposits and on his first expedition went as far afield as Coppermine River, where he found that the copper deposits, which had been known since the 18th century, were larger than had been suspected. He did mainly pioneering work in these areas, which formed the foundations for later explorations. Besides articles for professional journals he wrote "Lands Forlorn" (G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1914), an account of the expedition in 1911-12. In 1949 he was elected a Fellow of the Arctic Institute and he was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geographical Society, a member of several professional societies and of American and Canadian clubs.
Dr. Olaus J. Murie (1889-1963), biologist, and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute since 1949, died at his home in Moose, Wyoming, U.S.A. in October. He did considerable field work in New Zealand, Labrador, and Alaska. His faunal studies in the Arctic were mainly concerned with the biology and ecology of large mammals, but his interests extended also to ornithology. He had been Director of the Wilderness Society since 1946 and was active in wild life conservation in wilderness environments. In recognition of his many achievements he received an honorary degree, as well as many other honours and awards.
Dr. L. E. Borden, an Associate of the Arctic Institute of long standing, died at Vancouver, B.C., Canada last summer at the age of 86. He was the last surviving member of the first Canadian Arctic Expedition in the Neptune under Capt. A. P. Low, in which he took part as medical officer. He had in his custody documents relating to Capt. Low's taking possession of "the island of Ellesmere land and all the smaller islands adjoining it". This declaration was read in the Canadian House of Commons in 1956, when the question of Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic Archipelago was being debated.
Centenary of the birth of V.A. Obruchev, Soviet geologist, geographer, traveller, and pioneer in permafrost research
Arctic, v. 16, no. 4, Dec. 1963, p. 285-288
ASTIS record 55404
Vladimir Afanas'evich Obruchev, who was born on October 10, 1863 in the village of Klepenino in the upper Volga region, was an outstanding natural scientist, who made great contributions to the exploration of Asia. His father was in the military service and often transferred with his family from one province to another. For some time they lived in Lithuania where Obruchev completed his high school education in Vilnius in 1881 and then passed the entrance examinations of both the Mining and the Technological institutes in Petersburg. He chose the Mining Institute and completed his studies there in 1886. ... For his great achievements the Academy of Sciences of the USSR named Obruchev a corresponding member of the Academy in 1921, and an active member in 1929. From this time on he was working in the Academy of Sciences and for 3 years, beginning in 1929, he was director of the Geological Institute. During World War II he was Academician-secretary of the Department of Geological and Geographical Sciences and as such led the scientific research of all academic institutes in this field. Obruchev was among the first to advocate the organization of a special committee for the study of permafrost. He was president of this committee from 1930 to 1939. In this year he became director of the Permafrost Institute, which now bears his name, and held that position for the rest of his life. ... He was also deeply involved in the exploration of northern regions. While analysing the geology of the greater part of Asia north of the Arctic Circle he concluded that during Quaternary times two glacial periods had occurred there, and that a thick ice sheet had covered not only the arctic zone but had extended south to 60°N. He established that at the beginning of the Quaternary dry land occupied the present Kara Sea area and that glaciers extended from there to the south between the Urals and the Taymyr Peninsula, which were also covered by a continental ice sheet at that time. Obruchev thought that the present Greenland ice cap and other glaciers of the North American islands, the glaciers of Spitsbergen, Zemlya Frantsa Iosifa, Novaya Zemlya, and Severnaya Zemlya are the remnants of ice caps and glaciers of the Ice Ages. Further evidence for the glaciations is the existence of fossil ice, which Obruchev discussed in detail in several of his works. His research concerning the Ice Ages helped to establish the southern limits of glaciation and the present distribution of permafrost. The very large amount of geological and geographical information collected by Obruchev in northern Asia has very great value in permafrost research, especially in the preparation of long-term climatic predictions and in the determination of the degree of climatic amelioration in the Arctic. He did not isolate permafrost from other natural phenomena but studied it in relation to the geology of the region. ... Obruchev died on June 19, 1956 and was buried in the Novodevich' cemetery in Moscow.