The Geological Survey of Canada's project SAFE (Sedimentology of Arctic Fiords Experiment) was initiated in 1981 and is being carried out in a series of fiords situated along the east coast of Baffin Island. SAFE emphasizes the study of the Quaternary history and modern processes of arctic fiord environments. Project participants are interested in evaluating the significance of the comparatively rapid process rates and of the high-resolution sedimentary records that typify these settings. The key objectives of SAFE include: 1. To understand sandur development and the character of the resultant facies. 2. To understand the time-dependent influences of rivers, tides, waves, wind and deep-water renewal on fiord circulation and sedimentation patterns. 3. To use the geological record of raised marine deposits in establishing late Quaternary history within and between fiords. Following a reconnaissance of 10 fiords along the east coast of Baffin Island in 1982, 3 were selected for detailed study during the 1983 field season (Cambridge, Itirbilung, McBeth). The 1982 and 1983 investigations utilized the oceanographic research vessel CSS Hudson as an operations base. During both surveys, core sampling, CTD profiling, geophysical mapping and other heavy work were carried out from the Hudson up to the 100 m isobath. The shallow water operation was supported by two launches outfitted with equipment to carry the oceanographic and geological programs into nearshore uncharted areas. Field parties were landed to study raised marine deposits and glacial features. The 1983 survey was preceded by a helicopter-supported program that succeeded in mooring and recovering several strings of current meters and sediment traps near the heads of Cambridge and Itirbilung fiords.
Seismic reflection surveys using a compressed air source in nine fiords on Baffin Island provide information on the amounts of sediment deposited and the relation of sedimentation to events during late Quaternary glaciation. Five sedimentary facies can be recognised in the seismic records: (A) a basal facies of ice contact glacial sediment including moraines and deformed, stratified, glaciomarine sediment, (B) a lower glaciomarine facies of well-stratified sediment deposited in an ice-proximal environment, (C) a facies of acoustically transparent sediment deposited in a lower energy environment farther from sources of glacial sediment, (D) an upper, well-stratified facies similar to facies B and also interpreted as ice-proximal, and (E) a thin facies of modern sediment on top of the other materials. These facies are tentatively correlated with glacial events on eastern Baffin Island. Facies A and B are associated with the retreat of glaciers from the outer coast and continental shelf of Baffin Island during the early Foxe Period (>50,000 BP). Facies D is associated with the readvance of glaciers to form the moraines of the Baffinland drift during the Cockburn Substage of the Early Holocene. The intervening Facies C is associated with lower energy conditions and less sediment input in a long period between these events, and Facies E with the present environment in the fiords.
Distribution, abundance and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates on the Canadian continental shelf and slope of southern Davis Strait and Ungava Bay
Arctic, v. 38, no. 4, Dec. 1985, p. 281-291, ill., 1 map
ASTIS record 18264
Stations in a survey of benthic invertebrates on the Canadian continental shelf and slope of southeastern Baffin Island, in Ungava Bay, and on the northern Labrador Shelf, fell into definite groups as a result of an objective analysis of similarity in species composition. The groupings were shown to correspond to major water masses in the area. Groups corresponding to cold surface water masses, to the deep Irminger Atlantic water mass, and to mixtures of these with adjacent water masses were observed. The Irminger Atlantic group dominated on the Baffin Island continental shelf. Species diversity, also measured in the study, was high, with large numbers of species present in low abundance.
An experimental procedure by which waste drilling fluids were placed upon the tundra was undertaken at the Panarctic Dome et al. Hoodoo N-52 wellsite on Ellef Ringnes Island during the early winter of 1981-82. Preliminary site investigations indicated ice-rich permafrost conditions and the potential for extensive terrain disturbance if a sump were constructed. During the summer of 1982 seepage of waste effluent away from the disposal area occurred, and a quantity of muds and supernatant waters entered an adjacent creek. Water-quality analyses indicated that leaching of heavy metals was slow in the short term and soluble components were quickly diluted to background levels. The major toxicity threat posed by drilling wastes is primarily one of high salinity. The low level of terrain disturbance associated with a sumpless operations is a major advantage of such a procedure.
Cannibalism in polar bears appears to occur as carrion feeding and as attacks by males on small cubs or incapacitated individuals. Direct observations indicate that intraspecific killing and cannibalism occur among polar bears throughout the Arctic. The high incidence of Trichinella infection and circumpolar observations of cannibalism suggest that polar bears will readily eat other polar bears when they can do so without excessive risk of injury. Speculations that intraspecific aggression and cannibalism may be an important social and ecological force are consistent with existing information on polar bear biology.
Strong spatial and temporal variations in temperature and effective thermal diffusivity are apparent from short-term thermal records measured in the peat atop an ice-cored palsa in northern Alaska. Intersite differences in near-surface temperature regimes apparently result from topographic influences, vegetative cover, and site wetness. Values of effective thermal diffusivity indicate that ablation of the ice core is inhibited by advection of cold water near the ice-peat contact and by internal evaporation near the surface. These findings support the conclusions of earlier investigators, who emphasized the importance of peat for maintaining palsas near their equatorward limit.
The age structures of 39 populations of three species of North American bears were analyzed. Estimated mortality rates of cubs in their first year were 30-40% for brown bears and 25-30% for black bears. Apparent subadult mortality rates derived from living animals (15-35% annually) were higher than those of adults. Apparent mean annual mortality rates of subadult and adult females combined were 17.2, 16.8, and 18.8% for black, brown, and polar bears respectively. Comparable values for males were 25.5, 23.0, and 22.6% annually. Because hunting appears to be the major mortality factor in most North American bear populations, interpretation of age structures is facilitated by explicitly incorporating the effects of hunting and its associated biases in the analyses. The simple model proposed to accommodate the hunter-bear interaction clarifies differences in age distributions between species and between sexes within species. Most of the differences in sex-specific mortality rates are a product of differential vulnerability related to home range size and method of hunting.
To Great Slave and Great Bear : P.G. Downes's journal of travels north from Ile à la Crosse in 1938 [Part III]
Arctic, v. 38, no. 4, Dec. 1985, p. 324-335, ill.
ASTIS record 18269
The narrative of P.G. Downes's trip by canoe, boat, and plane from Ile à la Crosse to Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes in 1938, in which he presents a detailed account of his feelings, thoughts, and experiences, as well as his observations on individual men and women, northern lore, and geographic characteristics of the region. The journal will appear as five installments in Arctic.
The benthic isopod Mesidotea (=Saduria) sibirica from the Herschel Island waters, Yukon Territory, was found to be internally infected with an extracellular protozoan parasite of uncertain identity. The infection is systemic. This is the first reported incidence of an infection in the isopod population in the Herschel Island waters.
.. The man who charted nearly 3000 km of the coastline of North America is best remembered as the leader of an expedition that cost the British Admiralty two ships and the lives of 129 men and that made no direct contribution to the geographical unfolding of the Canadian Arctic. ... Franklin endured an enforced idleness for three years before he was put in command of the brig Trent, which was to accompany the Dorothea under David Buchan up the east coast of Greenland and, it was hoped, over the Pole to the Orient. The voyage came to naught, the ships being turned back by heavy ice near Spitzbergen. In the same year, 1818, John Ross had been sent on an ancillary expedition to look for an opening leading out of Baffin Bay; when Ross returned to England to report that Baffin Bay offered no westward egress, John Barrow, Secretary to the Admiralty, refused to believe him. Hence, in 1819 the Admiralty dispatched Edward Parry to search Baffin Bay again, while Franklin went across the mainland to explore the northern cost east of the Coppermine River's mouth. ... The advanced season and a mutinous crew forced him back at Point Turnagain on Kent Peninsula. To avoid the treacherous return along the coast in the much-weakened bark canoes, Franklin decided upon a 500 km overland crossing by compass-bearing to Fort Enterprise, a journey that took them across the Barrens and that witnessed the deaths by starvation and exposure of nearly half the party of 20, at least one murder, an execution without trial, and suspected cannibalism. Franklin and two of his three officers survived; the voyageurs paid the heaviest toll, only 2 out of 11 returning. ... With a well-disciplined crew of 27, comprising mostly British seamen and marines and including Dr. John Richardson and George Back, survivors of the 1819-1822 expedition, Franklin set off for Great Bear Lake [in 1825]. There the party built Fort Franklin, a winter residence near the Great Bear River, which drains the lake into the Mackenzie River. After wintering at Fort Franklin, they descended the Mackenzie in the summer of 1826, using four sturdy boats rowed by seamen in place of the frail bark canoes manned by voyageurs of the previous expedition. At the delta, Dr. Richardson and E.N. Kendall turned east with two boats and about half the men, surveying the coast as far as the mouth of the Coppermine, where the eastward survey had begun on the first Arctic Land Expedition. Franklin and George Back took the remaining men and boats and headed west. ... Under John Franklin's command, then, two small parties of about two dozen men each put over 2800 km of previously unknown coastline on the map. The 1819-1822 expedition had charted the shore almost 900 km east of the Coppermine, and the 1825-1827 party had explored just short of 2000 cm of coast to the Coppermine's west. The north shore of mainland North America stretches some 76 [degrees] of longitude between the Alaska/Yukon border and the northern tip of Labrador; the coastline mapped under Franklin extends 40 of that longitude. Such is the accomplishment that earns John Franklin his greatness. Notwithstanding this major achievement, Franklin is more often known by his final expedition of 1845. ... The Erebus and Terror were last sighted by whalers in Baffin Bay in July 1845, two months after they sailed from London. Not a single crew man ever returned. The many searches for the missing ships and men led to the mapping of much of Canada's Arctic, but the Franklin expedition itself added nothing to that discovery. The mysterious fate of the 1845 expedition, nevertheless, almost totally obscures the geographical triumphs Franklin made in the 1820s when he - to use L.H. Neatby's phrase - "put a roof on the map of Canada."
Forsyth's career in the Arctic was very brief. He was the commander of the first, and least successful, of Lady Franklin's private expeditions in search of her husband and the crews of the H.M.S. Erebus and Terror, missing since 1845. ... It was so badly organised and had such a heterogeneous collection of participants that its commander would have had to be a genius to make it succeed. ... there is no reason to doubt that had he been fortunate enough to find himself on the quarterdeck of one of the naval vessels that sailed north instead of on that of a civilian ship with a difficult, not to say mutinous, crew, his name would have a prominent place in the polar hagiography of the period instead of being virtually forgotten. ... , even though Forsyth was to command the expedition, he had nothing to do with the appointment of the mates of the ship or its crew, who were whalers selected by William Hogarth, a confidant of Lady Franklin at Aberdeen, or of the "chief officer" of the expedition, William Parker Snow, who was selected by Lady Franklin herself. Forsyth was not involved in the choice of vessel. ... The instructions of the expedition were for the vessel to penetrate Prince Regent Inlet, to establish winter quarters, and then for two travelling parties to examine the western coast of Boothia. ... The ship duly entered the inlet, but Forsyth, after seeking the opinion of the mates, of the crew, and of Snow, decided on 22 August 1850 that the ice could not be penetrated and retraced his path. Passing near Cape Riley, Snow went ashore and obtained news of the relics that had been found by one of the other expeditions which indicated that Franklin had wintered nearby. It seems clear, in retrospect, that this was a godsend to Forsyth, who now had a splendid excuse for abandoning the expedition and for returning to Britain. This he determined to do. He was careful to ensure that, on meeting H.M.S. North Star, a vessel also returning home but a faster sailer than Prince Albert, he did not give news of the discovery of the wintering site to Mr. Saunders, her commander. Forsyth did not wish Saunders to steal his thunder. In the event, the reception accorded Forsyth was all that he could have desired, although the Franklin menage was furious at his early return. ... Despite the brevity and lack of distinction of his arctic career, Forsyth's name endures on the map of northern Canada. Two localities are named after him: Forsyth Bay and Forsyth Point on Prince of Wales Island.
Season after season, college students and others returning from part-time jobs with survey parties in northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba would tell how their leader, though older and half their size, would consistently outwalk, outpack, and outpaddle any of them. It was hard work for them just to tag along behind him, and he was a hard if amiable taskmaster. His name was Guy Blanchet, and he kept up his pace across the Canadian Arctic and subarctic and elsewhere for nearly a half century. As a surveyor, engineer, and explorer, he became a legend in his own time. ... From 1921 to 1925 he carried out exploratory surveys in the Mackenzie and Keewatin districts of the Northwest Territories. His work was centered in the Great Slave Lake area and northward, which he traversed by canoe and on foot, encompassing over 300 000 square km from Hay River on the west to the Dubawnt River on the east, the 60th parallel on the south to the Coppermine River on the north. Until then, the easterly shoreline of Great Slave Lake had appeared on maps much as Capt. George Back had placed it in the early 19th century. Blanchet's printed report described his journeys and summarized the history, geology, and typography of the country, plus sections on settlements, transportation, climate, vegetation, and wildlife. Through an 18-month period in 1928-1929, Blanchet represented the federal government and led a mineral exploration expedition of Dominion Explorers, Ltd., a private company. This geological survey was set up to investigate huge areas along the western side of Hudson Bay between Churchill and Chesterfield Inlet, and inland to Great Slave Lake and northward as far as Coronation Gulf with scattered bases. The expedition pioneered large-scale use of aircraft in northern Canada. However, geological work of the field parties became subordinate to the task of keeping airplanes in operable condition and finding lost people. ... In Victoria on June 1, 1942, he received a message from Edmonton: Would he join a small group making an aerial reconnaissance across the Mackenzie-Yukon divide to find a route for an emergency pipeline to carry crude oil from Norman Wells to Whitehorse? He was in Edmonton within a couple of days. Thus began the field work for the Canol (Canadian oil) Project, designed by the U.S. Army to help fuel the new Alaska Highway and its airfields from an inland source relatively safe from Japanese attack. ... The most difficult parts would be among the little-known mountains east of the divide, which he wanted to examine on the ground himself. So, between late October and late November 1942, with Indians and dog teams from Fort Norman, he cut inland from a campsite along the Mackenzie River opposite Norman Wells and trudged about 450 km to Sheldon Lake. He did this when he was nearly 59 years old and despite a painful foot injury, adverse weather, and a dangerous shortage of food. ... In 1951 he was called out of retirement to be chief surveyor of the right-of-way for the Trans-Mountain oil pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver. Even then, in his late sixties, he could walk long distances and work long hours, to the wonderment of younger colleagues and helpers. ...