The editor shares his views on the creation of an Antarctic-type treaty for the Canadian Arctic Islands with reasonable and shared access for everyone. "By offering Canadian arctic islands and associated waters as a demilitarized international park, say under the control of the United Nations, the Canadian nation would be seen to be taking an enormous step forward on the world scene by dissociating itself from the global arms race and by showing an enlightened and determined leadership never before contemplated in northern latitudes."
Natural raised marine deposits and archaeological sites recently discovered in southeastern Alaska have been measured relative to mean sea level and radiocarbon dated. Plots of sites on Heceta and Prince of Wales islands are compared to those developed for British Columbia. The Heceta Island curve is comparable to that of the Queen Charlotte Islands, in which pre-Holocene shorelines were lower than present until about 10,000 B.P. and then rose to a maximum of 15 m asl by 8500 B.P., when gradual emergence began to bring the sea level down to its present position. In contrast, the Prince of Wales Islands data indicate that sea level remained a few metres above its present position between 10,000 and 7000 B.P. - a time when the shores of mainland British Columbia were as much as 15 m below present sea level. Because Holocene sea levels are a function of isostatic rebound due to removal of glacial ice, as well as global sea level changes and tectonic activity, the implication is that whereas Heceta Island underwent processes and magnitudes of glaciation and isostatic rebound similar to the Queen Charlotte Islands, Prince of Wales Island was subjected to a pattern of glaciation and isostatic rebound different from that of the Queen Charlotte Islands and mainland of British Columbia.
The birth and growth of Porsild Pingo (ice-cored hill) can be taken as fairly representative of the birth and growth of the more than 2000 closed-system pingos of the western arctic coast of Canada and adjacent Alaska. Porsild Pingo, named after a distinguished arctic botanist, has grown in the bottom of a large lake that drained catastrophically about 1900. Porsild Pingo has grown up at the site of a former shallow residual pond. The "birth" probably took place between 1920 and 1930. The high pore water pressure that caused updoming of the bottom of the residual pond to give birth to Porsild Pingo came from pore water expulsion by downward and upward permafrost growth in saturated sands in a closed system. In the freeze-back period of October-November 1934, permafrost ruptured and the intrusion of water into the unfrozen part of the active layer grew a 3.7 m high frost mound photographed by Porsild in May 1935. Porsild Pingo has grown up at, or very close to, the site of the former frost mound. The growth of Porsild Pingo appears to have been fairly steady from 1935 to 1976, after which there has been a decline to 1987. The growth rate has been nearly linear with height, from zero at the periphery to a maximum at the top. The present addition of water to the pingo is about 630 m³/y. Providing there is no major climatic change. Porsild Pingo may continue to grow for a few centuries.
Some characteristics of polar bears killed during conflicts with humans in the Northwest Territories, 1976-86
Arctic, v. 41, no. 4, Dec. 1988, p. 275-278, ill.
ASTIS record 28820
We examined 265 cases where polar bears were killed in the Northwest Territories as a result of bear-human encounters between 1 July 1976 and 30 June 1986. Age and sex of the bears, time of year and general circumstances of the cases were characterized. Subadult animals constituted 53% of the aged sample, and males accounted for 70% of the sexed bears. Subadult males represented 40% of known age and sex bears. Problem kills occurred throughout the year but were most frequent in the ice-free season (August-November). In 222 cases where circumstances surrounding the death were known, 63% were associated with Inuit on the land, 18% with settlements, 15% were industrial sites and 4% with research activities. Most problem kills (87%) were not included in the quota harvest. This mortality in excess of the quota may adversely affect some populations. Therefore, wherever possible we encourage the inclusion of problem bears on community quotas.
Demography of the George River caribou herd : evidence of population regulation by forage exploitation and range expansion
Le Henaff, D.
Arctic, v. 41, no. 4, Dec. 1988, p. 279-287, ill., maps
ASTIS record 28821
The George River caribou herd in northern Quebec/Labrador increased from about 5000 animals in 1954 to 472,200 (or 1.1 caribou/km) prior to the 1984 calving season. The range used by the herd expanded from 160,000 to 442,000 sq km for the period 1971-84. The exponential rate of increase (r) was estimated at 0.11 in the 1970s. Calf:female ratio in autumn was relatively constant (x=0.52) from 1973 to 1983, but decreased to about 0.39 in 1984-86. The harvest rate was relatively low in the 1970s (about 3%/y), but seemingly increased in the mid-1980s to 5-7% as a result of more liberal regulations and a greater impetus to exploit caribou for subsistence. The cumulative impact of lower calf recruitment and more intensive hunting may have appreciably depressed the growth rate of the herd in 1984-86. A greater year-round competition for food resources and a greater energy expenditure associated with range expansion are presented as probable regulatory factors for the George River herd. It is argued that the nature of caribou-habitat interactions in continental regions generate long-term fluctuations in caribou numbers if human exploitation remains low. At present, wolf predation does not appear to be an important mortality factor capable of regulating the George River herd.
Data on tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) were obtained on the northern Alaska Peninsula from 1983 to 1987. Phenology was advanced 2-4 weeks of swan nesting areas in the Subarctic and Arctic, but a late spring retarded nesting by at least ten days. The highest densities of potential breeders (0.3-0.9 swans/sq km) occurred along the lowland coast and in broad drainage basins. Estimates of the breeding population ranged from 4000 to 4600 swans. Brood sizes in August ranged from 2.7±0.3 S.E to 3.3±0.5 young. In summer, 51-66% of the adults and subadults were observed as potential breeders, and the remainder were in nonbreeding flocks. Between 31 and 40% of the observed pairs had nests or young. The population and production on the Alaska Peninsula may be less affected by weather than populations at higher latitudes.
Samples of lichen, moss and caribou meat from the high and central arctic regions of Canada were measured for 137Cs due to the Chernobyl accident of April 1986. They were compared to lichen samples from the boreal area of Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, and to moss samples from the temperate Niagara Escarpment of southern Ontario. Lichens from Ellesmere Island and mosses from the Niagara Escarpment had no detectable Chernobyl 137Cs. Lichens from the central Arctic showed a 137Cs increase of about 14% above the persistent burden from the past atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. Mosses and lichens from Wood Buffalo National Park showed an average 137Cs increase of 19% due to Chernobyl fallout. In absolute terms, the contribution of Chernobyl fallout over Canadian northern regions was non-significant compared to the depositions experienced by countries such as the U.S.S.R., Sweden, Norway and some Central European countries.
Wolf predation on bison in Wood Buffalo Park and adjacent areas in late spring/early summer season was observed to be directed toward cow/calf herds. While hunting, wolf packs in early summer developed a strong preference for herds with calves. Packs of four to six individuals were observed. Of 14 interactions recorded, 12 were made from ground observations and 2 were made from the air. Five apparent defense strategies to protect calves were noted. These were: (1) to run to the cow, (2) to run to a herd, (3 ) to run to the nearest bull, (4) to get out in front and center of a stampeding herd and (5) to run through water bodies. When fleeing from wolves in open areas, cow with young calves took the lead, while bulls often were seen at the rear of the herds. When under attack from wolves, cows and particularly bulls were sometimes seen to defend the calves. Killing attempts observed in this study lasted from a few minutes to 11 hours.
The fossil remains of one invertebrate and 16 vertebrate genera have been recovered from late Quaternary sediments of a large placer gold mine in east-central Alaska. Forty-six of 1055 fossils were recovered in situ from nine stratigraphic units at the Lost Chicken Creek Mine, Alaska. The fossils range in age from approximately 1400 yr BP (Alces alces) to greater than 50,400 yr BP (Equus [Asinus] lambei, Rangifer tarandus, Ovibovini cf. Symbos cavifrons, and Bison priscus). The assemblage includes an unusual occurrence of gallinaceous birds (Lagopus sp., ptarmigan), wolverine (Gulo gulo), the extinct American lion (Panthera leo atrox), collared lemmings (Dicrostonyx torquatus), and saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica). Sediments at Lost Chicken Creek consist of 37 vertical m of sandy silt, pebbly sand, gravel and peat of fluvial, colluvial and eolian origins. Four episodes of fluvial deposition have alternated sequentially throughout the late Wisconsinan with periods of eolian deposition and erosion. Solifluction has created a disturbed biostratigraphy at the site, yielding a fauna that must be considered a thanatocoenosis. The stratigraphy of Lost Chicken Creek is strikingly similar in major features to that of two coeval Beringian localities: Canyon Creek and Eva Creek, Alaska.
A 50-million-year-old fossil forest from Strathcona Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Arctic Canada : evidence for a warm polar climate
Arctic, v. 41, no. 4, Dec. 1988, p. 314-318, ill., map
ASTIS record 28826
The remains of a fossil forest are buried within a sedimentary sequence of Eocene age (approximately 50 million years old) near Strathcona Fiord, Ellesmere Island. Large petrified tree stumps are preserved in their original growth positions in coals of the Eureka Sound Group, a sequence of sandstones, siltstones and coals deposited in a delta/floodplain environment. The dimensions of 83 stumps were recorded and their positions plotted on a plan of the exposed area of coal. The fossil stumps are roughly conical in shape, up to 1.8 m high and with roots spreading up to 5 m in diameter. They are closely spaced on the coal, some only 1 m spart. A density of 1 stump in 27 sq. m (367 stumps/Ha) was calculated for this forest. The stumps represent large forest trees that grew in freshwater, swampy conditions between large river channels. Their buttressed roots provided extra support in the waterlogged peats. The rivers periodically shifted their courses, flooding the forest and burying them under silts and sands. Wide growth rings in the fossil wood, in addition to evidence from associated sediments and vertebrate faunas, indicate favourable growing conditions in a mild, cool/warm temperate climate with high rainfall. Palaeolatitude studies suggest that the forest lay close to its present high-latitude position during the Euocene. Such a forest is therefore evidence that the Eocene polar climate was much warmer than today and that the trees were able to tolerate polar sunlight regime of continuous summer sunlight followed by months of winter darkness.
Several terms (subsistence, domestic, harvest and food fishing) are used often synonymously in Canada to refer to fishing carried out to satisfy local food needs. To resolve the confusion and to provide consistency, it is desirable to consolidate the terminology. "Subsistence" connotes the appropriate meaning in both anthropology and economics, and is therefore favored here. It has the added advantage of being the term used in Alaska.
William Nathaniel Irving died on November 25, 1987. He was an arctic archaeologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto, internationally recognized as a leading scholar in arctic prehistory. His contributions were significant and appreciated during his lifetime. His initial research interests were in the Inuit cultures of northern Alaska and their antecedents, which led him to study both their ethnoarchaeology and the systematics and technology of stone implements, e.g., those of the arctic small tool tradition. His major research focus in the last two decades of his career was in searching in the northern Yukon for answers to a problem that puzzled anthropologists for over a century - when did humans enter the New World? Irving spent a good deal of time studying this topic while continuing to fulfill his university responsibilities as teacher, administrator and director of numerous graduate students. ...
Grant F. Walton, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University, died on August 4, 1988. ... While pursuing his Ph.D. degree at Rutgers University he wrote his thesis on soils of the High Arctic. Accordingly, he made studies in Alaska, Prince Patrick Island, Bathurst Island, Cornwallis Island, Banks Island, Baffin Island, the Hudson Bay area, northern Greenland and Siberia. His Ph.D. thesis was a comprehensive (480 pages) circumpolar treatment of soil zonation and soil geography in the High Arctic. He was particularly interested in the effect of glaciation and isostatic rebound on the soil pattern. It became evident to the university during the late 1960s and early 1970s that Dr. Walton also had considerable organizational and administrative talents. [He served as dean of Cook College and director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, a dual post he held for eight years.] ... When he retired in 1987 he held the title of Professor II (Distinguished Professor). ...