The expedition to the Arctic led by Sir John Franklin in 1819-22 was a major event in Britain's resumed search for the Northwest Passage. The members of Franklin's party were the first white men to travel along the mainland shores of arctic North America; in spite of extreme hardships, they discovered and mapped 675 miles of that coastline. The story of the productive but tragic journey, in which eleven out of twenty people perished on the return trek, is well known from the official account of Franklin (1823). One of the sources used by Franklin was the journal of a midshipman, Robert Hood, the only officer to die during that expedition. ... Hood offers a well-written, very human and less formal version of the events which occurred up to the time the expedition reached the Coppermine, and also provides an important account of the life of the Cree Indians near Cumberland House. Hood's journal and paintings have just been published. (Houston 1974). ... Hood's journal reveals him as a most intelligent, perceptive young man in his early twenties. His wide range of knowledge and interests are difficult to reconcile with the fact that he completed his formal schooling and joined the navy when only fourteen years of age. His accomplishments become somewhat more understandable, however, when it is realized that midshipmen - officers-in-training - received a considerable part of their education on board ship, with stress on subjects such as navigation, Euclid and Latin. Often they had access to recent books of science in the captain's cabin. Certainly Hood's knowledge, interests and aptitudes were directed towards science, so that he came to be Franklin's chief assistant in climatological, magnetic and geodetic matters and Dr. John Richardson's chief assistant in regard to natural history collections. The assistance he rendered to Franklin is amply recorded in Franklin's journal and is evident from Hood's own account. ... The amazing accuracy of Franklin's maps therefore reflects much credit on this young midshipman. ... Hood was the first to carry out a careful magnetic survey in what is now Western Canada, measuring the dip as well as the magnetic declination. ... However, it is in the area of natural history that Hood's contribution, through his paintings, is only now apparent. ... Indeed, one could argue that Hood's watercolours are as important as his journal. The two midshipmen, Robert Hood and George Back, no doubt chosen for the expedition because of their artistic ability, were the first artists to visit the present Canadian Northwest. ... The previously unpublished paintings by Hood of birds and mammals are of some scientific importance. It must be appreciated that the natural history of the remote fur countries was, as a result of Richardson's observations as naturalist on the first two Franklin expeditions, more completely catalogued than that of any other area of the North American continent at that time, with the possible exception of the Carolinas. ... By painting some important specimens that were later lost, Hood has added further to this store of knowledge. At the time that he painted them, no less than five of the birds and one type of fish were unknown to the scientific world. The black-billed magpie was the only one of the five newly-discovered birds painted by Hood which was to achieve "type specimen" status. ... Hood's painting of the evening grosbeak represents the first authentic record of this species anywhere. ... Hood painted two species under the name of "snowbird", the snow bunting and the hoary redpoll. However, it was 1843 before C. Holboell, the Danish naturalist, recognized the much whiter specimens of redpoll from Greenland as a separate species. Finally, the round whitefish was a new species when painted by Hood at Fort Enterprize, north of Great Slave Lake, in the spring of 1821. ... After the lapse of 154 years, the following paintings of birds and mammals from Cumberland House (53° 58' N, 102° 16' W) have been published along with Hood's journal. ...
Peary caribou and muskoxen were surveyed on Banks Island north of 73° N. in June 1970 to identify critical spring ranges of these animals. The data gathered also lend themselves to population estimations. Critical spring ranges of both animals north of 73° N. are more or less mutually exclusive. Muskoxen were restricted to the eastern side of the island; caribou were widely dispersed and associated with simpler plant communities. Group and herd structures for both animals are given and indicate high productivity. Conservative population estimates indicate far more animals than previously supposed: 5,300-8,000 caribou and 1,200-1,300 muskoxen.
In the Mackenzie River Valley between Norman Wells and Fort Simpson a study of the character, distribution and orientation of gently-inclined, linear-patterned slopes revealed that most northeast-facing, lichen-covered slopes have permafrost within about 10-25 inches of the surface, and display evidence that cryoturbation was once operative in the active layer. Most lineated slopes without near-surface permafrost face southwest, are surficially more moist, and are characteristically associated with sedges and Sphagnum. On these slopes that receive the greatest incoming solar radiation, and where the active layer is thicker, there is little evidence that cryoturbation was once operative. The northeast-facing slopes generally provide forage for caribou; the southwest-facing slopes are least subject to gully erosion.
A comparative analysis is made of the distribution of long term monthly mean temperature and precipitation data for three representative locations in the Alaska interior basin. Examples of extreme monthly conditions over the region are selected by reference to the record at Tanana dating back to 1903. The characteristics are outlined of the mean monthly orientations of the 700-millibar troughs and ridges and also the patterns of geopotential anomaly associated with summer months which exhibit extremes of warmth, cold, moisture and dryness. A comparison is made between these patterns and those that have been postulated for the time of the maximum Wisconsin glaciation.
Field measurements of the influence of snow on ground temperatures, at a depth of 90 cm., were carried out during 1968-73 at Garry Island, N.W.T. The results show that the ameliorating effect of snow can be expressed by a regression equation. The side slopes tend to have the highest mean annual temperatures; the flats the lowest; and the ridges intermediate. At Garry Island, where permafrost is thick, variations in snow cover are probably not reflected in the position of the bottom of permafrost. By contract, in the nearby alluvial islands of the Mackenzie Delta, where permafrost is thin, the effects of snow on the position of the lower permafrost surface are probably considerable.
Circulation of the Atlantic water layer in the Canada Basin of the Arctic Ocean is re-examined using the numerous data acquired in the last decade. Methods of analysis were (1) the core layer method as used ten years previously, (2) a 500/1000-decibar dynamic topography, and (3) the available direct current measurements. The results confirm the general anti-cyclonic circulation deduced previously which has a transport of about 0.6 sverdrups. A new feature is described: a sub-surface counterflow moving southeast along the eastern slope of the Chukchi Rise with a transport of about 0.3 sverdrups.
Origin and significance of wet spots on scraped surfaces in the High Arctic
Arctic, v. 27, no. 4, Dec. 1974, p. 304-306, ill.
Devon Island IBP Project contribution, no. 26
ASTIS record 10285
In the western Queen Elizabeth Islands, Northwest Territories, where most of the petroleum exploration in the High Arctic is being conducted, much of the low lying land is covered with sorted and non-sorted circles and polygons 0.5-2.0 m in diameter. ... Much of the oil-camp construction takes place on the coastal low-lands on polygonal surfaces composed of sandy to silty loams. When these surfaces are scraped and reworked for camp areas and air strips in summer, it is common for them to have numerous wet spots which become soft and spongy and of jelly-like consistency when equipment is moved across them .... a small study was conducted in 1972 at the Sunoco Camp no. 3002 on the northeast side of King Christian Island (77° 44'N, 101° 15'W), approximately 3.5 km from the sea. There the surface soils consist of fine marine sediments intermixed with small pebbles. The entire camp area and the Hercules landing strip are built on a surface covered with non-sorted polygons. ... Excavations were made on both the disturbed surface, where the damp spots occurred, as well as in the undisturbed area adjacent to the camp. ... From the information obtained during the excavations in each of the areas described, it is possible to understand more clearly the mechanisms responsible for the features. The wet spots in the cleared work-area are located at the foci of ground-ice accumulations which occur at the margins and intersections of the non-sorted patterned ground. The occurrence of ground-ice at the perimeters of the non-sorted polygons is explained by the contraction cracks which form and outline the patterned ground. Moisture from the scanty precipitation (especially blowing snow) accumulates in the cracks and eventually becomes incorporated in the underlying frozen ground as ice veins. Since the cracks are areas of greater moisture (as well as microhabitats), the plants tend to congregate in them and in turn reinforce the moisture content by (1) their greater moisture-holding capacity, (2) more efficient moisture entrapment, and (3) retarding the rate of thaw owing to the slightly greater insulation they provide. Once such a surface is disturbed, as it was in this case by light blading with a bulldozer, the vegetation is destroyed (at least the above- surface parts). Greater thawing may then occur, during which the moisture is drawn to the surface by capillary action as melting of the ground ice takes place. These bladed areas increase soil compaction and therefore thermal conductivity, and so melt is accelerated. In addition, the organic matter and remaining live plant material in the crack act as a "wick" drawing the moisture to the surface. A last but very important factor is the movement of heavy equipment over the surface. ... Their main area of concentration was in the work area in front of the camp where there was continual movement of equipment. The repetitive application of pressure over an area rich in ground ice ... has a "pumping" action whereby moisture is slowly forced to the surface. This constant agitation distributes the water throughout the mass, and the material becomes "quick" owing to the reduction of intergranular pore pressure. This results in loss of cohesion, and the material becomes spongy and jelly-like when pressure is applied. The practical significance of this brief investigation is that the wet spots will probably not increase in size or the surface deteriorate further, but in fact there should be an improvement. It appeared from discussion with camp managers on two islands that, after two or three summers of use of the surface and scraping, the wet spots dry out. The best approach to the use of these vegetated (and therefore ice-rich) non-sorted, patterned ground surfaces in the High Arctic is to clear the areas before thawing occurs in the spring, and if possible not to use them heavily during the first one or two summers. By the second or third summer much of the ground ice will have thawed, so there should be less chance of major problems with wet and soft spots - unless the summer is unusually wet, as it was 1973.
During an airborne oceanographic survey of ice conditions in the east Greenland drift-stream in April 1972, earth-oriented satellite photographs were received aboard the research aircraft Arctic Fox of the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office. These photographs, broadcast directly from the satellites Nimbus 4 and ESSA 8 (Environmental Survey Satellite) were received by means of an APT (automatic picture transmission) satellite receiver station equipped with a specially-modified airborne satellite communication antenna. The satellite photographs showed the ice and cloud conditions for the Greenland Sea as they existed during each flight. This information was used both as a planning and operational aid during the survey and as a post-survey data source of ice and cloud conditions. ... The satellites used during the experiment were in polar orbits. ... In the latitudes of the study area, the overlap in the paths of each consecutive orbit was approximately 50 per cent. Thus, it was possible during the experiment to use the early morning satellite photographs in the pre-flight planning sessions to examine the general conditions of ice distribution and weather over the entire Greenland Sea, and to locate regions within the study area having the specific ice and cloud conditions required for that day's survey. Photographs obtained late in the morning and early in the afternoon were used to delineate the exact extent of the ice and cloud conditions in the chosen survey region. As mentioned earlier, these later photographs were retained as a data source of the survey region's ice and cloud conditions. ... The region examined during the survey by the Arctic Fox was the ice-entrained area in the east Greenland drift-stream bounded by the latitudes 68° and 73°N, and the longitudes 5° and 20° W. Altogether, six flights were made over the ice during the period 16-26 April. ... A necessary environmental condition for the successful utilization of the aircraft's remote sensing equipment under these conditions is good visibility. By using the satellite photographs provided by the APT station, essentially no flight time was lost searching for cloud free regions suitable for operations. In addition to cloud-free regions, each day's survey required specific ice conditions. ... Again, the photographs obtained by the Arctic Fox APT station showed the ice conditions in the cloud-free areas, so that a selection could be made of a region with the desired ice conditions. ... The satellite APT photographs received during this survey were the first operationally received aboard an aircraft. Their successful utilization during the survey demonstrated that satellite photographs provided by an airborne APT station can be useful in the planning and operation of a subarctic airborne oceanographic survey. In addition, the experiment showed that the photographs collected during the survey can provide valuable data on the regional and local ice and weather conditions for use in the post-survey analysis.
A microbiological study of some lake waters and sediments from the Mackenzie Valley with special reference to cytophagas
Arctic, v. 27, no. 4, Dec. 1974, p. 309-311
ASTIS record 10287
This paper is a report on the microbial flora of the waters and sediments of five lakes from the Canadian Subarctic, with special emphasis on the genus Cytophaga. The cytophagas are long, thin rods which are capable of flexing in liquids and of gliding motility on solid surfaces. They are important in the degradation and recycling of many relatively resistant, macromolecular polysaccharides and proteins such as cellulose, chitin, agar and keratin which occur as structural or storage residues of "higher" plants and animals in the natural environment. ... The samples were collected aseptically during the summer of 1971, flown to Edmonton and stored at 4 °C until processed, within two days of sampling time. ... Tests, which were carried out at the isolation temperature of each organism (10° or 25 °C), were as follows: C.C.A. [Cook's cytophaga agar] - growth, spreading, colour, length, width, shape and motility were described at 3-4 days (25 °C) or 5-6 days (10 °C); S.M.A. [skim milk acetate] - proteolysis (clearing) and silkiness of the liquid culture were noted at 2, 3 and 6 days and length, width, shape, flexing and motility observations were made at 10-14 hrs. and 2 days (25 °C) or 24-42 hrs. and 5 days (10 °C); S.M.A.-growth at 5° and 30 °C, and proteolysis were noted at 6 days. Gram stains and Munsell colour determinations were made at 4 days. ... The small number of samples used does not permit large-scale generalization; nevertheless some useful observations can be made. The three media and two temperatures used for isolation should screen the samples exhaustively for cytophagas (with the exception of any as yet unknown psychrophiles), as well as support the growth of various other micro-organisms. Very likely, other organisms could be found if a greater selection of media and conditions were used. The uniqueness of the microbial community of each site is noteworthy. The number and variety of bacterial types present varied widely. It is reasonable to conclude that those sites possessing a greater range of morphological types are likely to have a greater range of biochemical capacity in the degradation of organic molecules too. Of the total isolates 65% grew better at 30° than at 5 °C, 13% showed similar growth at both temperatures, and 16% showed no growth at 5 °C, whilst only 1% showed no growth at 30 °C, and 5% better growth at 5 °C than at 30 °C. The results for the Cytophaga cultures followed this trend, giving 61%, 13%, 15%, 4% and 6% respectively. This scarcity of psychrophiles should not be interpreted as necessarily reflecting the situation in the lakes, since the transit temperature and the temperatures of culture isolation were all higher than those in situ. The results do show a good potential for mesophilic growth if these areas were ever heated (by an oil pipeline for example), and turnover of materials could be expected to be fairly rapid. The genus Cytophaga, members of which spread by gliding motility on nutritionally weak media, were well represented in these lakes. ... Members of the genus Cytophaga, with their potential for waste polymer degradation, were recovered from all five lakes examined, and very large numbers were present in samples 4796 water and mud and 4810 water. ... The Cytophaga found in these subarctic lakes seem to differ very little from those present in more temperature regions of Canada.
Denmark has again lost one of her great Greenland explorers. The distinguished geologist, Alfred Rosenkrantz, professor at the University of Copenhagen and a Fellow of the Arctic Institute since 1950, died on 8 July in Copenhagen. Geology interested him from early childhood. He spent many hours in the Geological Museum of the University of Copenhagen, where years later he taught and did all his research. His father, an official at the court of the King of Denmark, was rather old-fashioned. When the time came for Rosenkrantz to attend the University, he insisted that the young man should study something "sound" - not geology. Rosenkrantz was therefore enrolled at Denmark's Technical Institute, from where he graduated in 1926 with a degree in engineering. While studying he also worked as a research assistant in the Geological Museum and, during the summer months, was a field assistant with the Geological Survey of Denmark. During this period he worked mainly on the Danish Danian and Palaeocene, and despite his youth published several valuable papers on those subjects. No sooner had Rosenkrantz graduated than he became a member of Lauge Koch's 1926-27 expedition to the east coast of Greenland. He investigated the Jurassic of the Scoresbysund area which he revisited in 1929, 1934, 1935 and 1936. In 1930-31 he studied at German universities and was appointed associate professor at the Technical Institute of Denmark. In 1946 he became full professor, and in 1954 was appointed professor at the University of Copenhagen, a position from which he retired in 1966. During the years 1937-66 he also taught geology at the Teachers' College of Denmark. He retired from active field work in Greenland only a couple of years ago. During his first stay in Greenland he - like almost everybody else - became infected by the well-known "Polar bug" varietas groenlandica, and the attack lasted almost 50 years. In 1938, and again in 1939, he raised funds for, and headed, the Danish Nugssuaq expeditions to West Greenland. These two expeditions heralded a new era in the geological investigation of Greenland. Since 1916 Lauge Koch had been the almost absolute ruler of Greenland geology. When for political reasons he switched his field of operations from North to East Greenland, the huge area became his prime interest until his death in 1964. The whole of West Greenland was however a terra incognita and no-man's land. For several years Rosenkrantz was a driving force in the establishment of the Geological Survey of Greenland, with its centre of operations in West Greenland. The Nugssuaq expeditions were forerunners of the Survey, but World War II caused all plans to be interrupted. The summer of 1946 however saw the pioneer expedition of the Greenland Geological Survey take place with Rosenkrantz as the leader of the "Northern team", a job he took on every summer for the next 22 years. His field of activity was mainly in areas with sedimentary rocks north of Disko Bugt. The scale of this activity was gigantic. On foot he traversed the unknown interior of the large peninsulas and islands, carrying every bit of supplies in, and lot of samples out. He and his co-workers demonstrated the presence of ores, oil, and coal. Of the greatest scientific value was his own thorough investigation of the Upper Cretaceous and Lower Tertiary in West Greenland. It is most admirable and remarkable that he taught his courses every semester, and continued concurrently his investigations of Denmark proper. ... His knowledge was wide-ranging, and his great enthusiasm for his subject made him a most inspiring teacher and leader. We all admired him for these qualities and for his legendary memory and great sense of humour. But most of all he was loved as a great personality who cared deeply for his students and co-workers. ...