7
Research Priorities

Establishing priorities for solid-earth research in the Arctic requires a weighting of three factors: intrinsic importance of the work for arctic and world science, scientific and technological feasibility, and the status of necessary or desirable prerequisite research. In addition, there should be a place in an arctic geoscience program for some high-risk research of unspecified rank seeking new approaches or trying new techniques for which generally accepted guidelines or precedents do not exist, and there should be a place for "little" as well as "big" science. It is therefore unrealistic to place in priority order the proposed research solely on the basis of perceived relative importance. The committee suggests that the research proposed in this report be undertaken in general accordance with its position in the following matrix, which recognizes that some studies are prerequisite to others and that, in the Arctic, logistics commonly govern what is possible and when. This approach will yield an integrated program of studies that will most efficiently and cost-effectively advance understanding of the solid earth in the Arctic Ocean Basin.

 

 

Technologic Feasibility

 

Character of Research

Now

Soon (2 to 5 years)

Uncertain (>5 years)

Necessary prerequisite to other research

1A

2A

3A

Not necessary prerequisite to other research

1B

2B

3B

Higher risk (no clear guidelines)

1C

2C

3C

 

 

Prerequisite required

Prerequisite required

TABLE 1: Matrix for evaluating the priority of research needs in the arctic solid-earth geosciences.



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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience 7 Research Priorities Establishing priorities for solid-earth research in the Arctic requires a weighting of three factors: intrinsic importance of the work for arctic and world science, scientific and technological feasibility, and the status of necessary or desirable prerequisite research. In addition, there should be a place in an arctic geoscience program for some high-risk research of unspecified rank seeking new approaches or trying new techniques for which generally accepted guidelines or precedents do not exist, and there should be a place for "little" as well as "big" science. It is therefore unrealistic to place in priority order the proposed research solely on the basis of perceived relative importance. The committee suggests that the research proposed in this report be undertaken in general accordance with its position in the following matrix, which recognizes that some studies are prerequisite to others and that, in the Arctic, logistics commonly govern what is possible and when. This approach will yield an integrated program of studies that will most efficiently and cost-effectively advance understanding of the solid earth in the Arctic Ocean Basin.     Technologic Feasibility   Character of Research Now Soon (2 to 5 years) Uncertain (>5 years) Necessary prerequisite to other research 1A 2A 3A Not necessary prerequisite to other research 1B 2B 3B Higher risk (no clear guidelines) 1C 2C 3C     Prerequisite required Prerequisite required TABLE 1: Matrix for evaluating the priority of research needs in the arctic solid-earth geosciences.

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience Projects that are technologically feasible now (column 1) should be undertaken before those that are thought to require further development or at least additional testing and seasoning (column 2). Columns 2 and 3 include research that has a prerequisite in column 1. Projects requiring technology that is unproven (column 3) would, of course, be scheduled provisionally as well as last. Within each vertical column, those projects that are necessary or highly desirable prerequisites to other studies (row A) should be scheduled before those that, although technologically feasible, do not provide background data necessary for other studies (row B). The higher-risk studies (row C) can be scheduled concurrently with the projects in rows A and B, depending on perceived scientific promise and available funds. For each study identified in the matrix, reduction and interpretation as well as acquisition of the required data are intended. Order within categories is arbitrary. Note that more specific recommendations on sequencing research on the ridges and subbasins of the Amerasia Basin are presented in Tectonic Problems in the Amerasia Basin in Chapter 5. Research in Category 1A Establishment of a standardized network of modern digital seismograph stations entirely around the circum-arctic rim Regional magnetic and gravity mapping of the entire Arctic Ocean Basin from submarines or aircraft Seabed side-scan sonar imaging and bathymetric mapping of the entire Arctic Ocean Basin from submarines Research in Category 1B Paleomagnetic analysis of arctic tectonic problems from outcrops on the circum-arctic rim Comparative analysis of trans-arctic geologic structure and stratigraphy Analysis of paleoenvironmental history as recorded in circum-arctic nonmarine and paralic sediments Sedimentation studies requiring samples from shallow cores (piston, gravity, box), high-resolution seismic reflection profiles, and continental shelf drilling Gas hydrate studies requiring multichannel seismic reflection and refraction data and samples from cores or shallow drill holes on outer shelves or upper slopes in seasonally sea-ice-free or light sea-ice areas Paleobiogeographic and paleoecologic research requiring samples from onshore outcrops or from shallow cores and drill holes on the continental shelf Ice-rafted sediment studies that require satellite imagery and samples from sea-ice and shallow subseabed cores Research in Category 1C Paleoenvironmental indicator research requiring samples from onshore outcrops, shallow cores, or drill holes on the continental shelf Research in Category 2A Seismic reflection and seismic refraction studies of Arctic Ocean Basin ridges and subbasins (prerequisite to coring and drilling) Geophysical studies along continental margin transects (prerequisite to coring and drilling) Research in Category 2B All projects (or parts thereof) requiring coring, dredging, and shallow drilling in the Arctic Ocean Basin beyond the continental shelf, including parts of the proposed studies of Arctic

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience Ocean Basin ridges, subbasins, and continental margins; parts of the proposed arctic ice-rafted sediment, sedimentation, paleobiogeographic and paleoecologic, and gas hydrate and offshore permafrost studies, and the magnetostratigraphy of arctic cores; and all the stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental projects that require samples from the subseabed beyond the continental shelf Deep crustal refraction experiments Heat flow measurements Research in Category 2C Paleoenvironmental indicator studies requiring samples from cores and shallow drill holes beyond the continental shelf Search for evidence of possible solar-terrestrial interactions in the sedimentary record in the Arctic Research in Category 3B All projects that require samples from drilling deeper than about 100-m subseabed at sites beyond the continental shelf, including some of the proposed gas hydrate studies, and all proposals that look toward eventual stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental deep drilling in the Arctic Ocean Basin beyond the continental shelf