Opportunities and Priorities in ARCTIC GEOSCIENCE

Committee on Arctic Solid-Earth Geosciences

Polar Research Board

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1991



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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience Opportunities and Priorities in ARCTIC GEOSCIENCE Committee on Arctic Solid-Earth Geosciences Polar Research Board Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1991

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is President of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided jointly by the Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Arthur Day Fund. Cover: “Passage Through the Ice, June 16, 1818,” as drawn by Capt. John Ross, British Royal Navy, during a voyage of discovery for the purposes of exploring Baffin’s Bay and inquiring into the probability of a North-West Passage. Published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, London, 1819. (Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.) Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 91-60476 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04485-5 Available in limited supply from the Polar Research Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 and National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 S336 Printed in the United States of America

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience COMMITTEE ON ARCTIC SOLID-EARTH GEOSCIENCES ARTHUR GRANTZ, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Chairman DAVID A. G. FORSYTH, Geological Survey of Canada KAZUYA FUJITA, Michigan State University, East Lansing ARTHUR R. GREEN, Exxon Production Research Company, Houston KENNETH HUNKINS, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory G. LEONARD JOHNSON, Office of Naval Research YNGVE KRISTOFFERSEN, University of Bergen, Norway E. FRED ROOTS, Department of the Environment, Ottawa DAVID B. STONE, University of Alaska, Fairbanks JÖRN THIEDE, Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany Other Contributors JULIE BRIGHAM-GRETTE, University of Massachusetts, Amherst D. E. BROWNLEE, University of Washington, Seattle DAVID L. CLARK, University of Wisconsin, Madison DAVID M. HOPKINS, University of Alaska, Fairbanks GLENN A. JONES, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution MARCUS G. LANGSETH, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory LOUIE N. MARINCOVICH, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park CAPT. ROBERT G. MOORE, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) R. L. PHILLIPS, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park ERK REIMNITZ, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park ROBERT A. SPICER, Oxford University, United Kingdom PATRICK T. TAYLOR, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Project Staff SHERBURNE B. ABBOTT, Staff Director MARIANN S. PLATT, Administrative Secretary

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience POLAR RESEARCH BOARD ROBERT H. RUTFORD, University of Texas at Dallas, Chairman RITA R. COLWELL, Maryland Biotechnology Institute, University of Maryland, Vice Chair NORBERT UNTERSTEINER, University of Washington, Seattle, Vice Chair ROGER G. BARRY, CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder EDDY C. CARMACK, Department of Fisheries & Oceans, Sidney, Canada F. STUART CHAPIN, III, University of California at Berkeley IAN W. D. DALZIEL, University of Texas at Austin PAUL K. DAYTON, Scripps Institution of Oceanography INEZ Y. FUNG, Goddard Institute of Space Studies JOHN E. HOBBIE, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole JOHN L. LABRECQUE, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory MARK F. MEIER, INSTAAR, University of Colorado, Boulder JOHN P. MIDDAUGH, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services THEODORE J. ROSENBERG, University of Maryland, College Park DONALD B. SINIFF, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis SUSAN SOLOMON, NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory, Boulder WILFORD F. WEEKS, University of Alaska, Fairbanks ORAN R. YOUNG, Dartmouth College Ex-Officio Members CHARLES R. BENTLEY, University of Wisconsin, Madison JEFF DOZIER, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center TED S. VINSON, Oregon State University, Corvallis Staff SHERBURNE B. ABBOTT, Staff Director MARIANN S. PLATT, Administrative Secretary

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. GORDON WOLMAN, The Johns Hopkins University, Chairman ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution B. CLARK BURCHFIEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology RALPH I. CICERONE, University of California at Irvine PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology HELEN M. INGRAM, University of Arizona GENE E. LIKENS, New York Botanical Garden SYUKURO MANABE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University PHILIP A. PALMER, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University DUNCAN T. PATTEN, Arizona State University MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Allied Signal Aerospace Company LARRY L. SMARR, National Center for Supercomputing Applications STEVEN M. STANLEY, Case Western Reserve University SIR CRISPIN TICKELL, UK Representative to the United Nations KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University IRVIN L. WHITE, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority JAMES H. ZUMBERGE, University of Southern California Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director JANICE E. MEHLER, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE A. SPOON, Financial Officer CARLITA PERRY, Administrative Assistant

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience Contents     Executive Summary   1 1   Introduction   5 2   Physiography   7 3   Role of the Arctic in Global Solid-Earth Geoscience   9     Geologic Framework and Tectonic Evolution   9     Mineral Resources   11     Environmental History and Global Change   12     Arctic Geologic Processes   13 4   Rationale for Focusing on the Arctic Ocean Basin and Its Margins   14 5   The Next Stage of Arctic Solid-Earth Geoscience Research   19     Geologic Framework and Tectonic Evolution   19     Major Problems and Research Questions   19     Tectonic Problems in the Amerasia Basin   19     Selected Tectonic Problems in the Eurasia Basin   23     Continental Margins   24     Special Studies   27     Comparative Studies of Trans-Arctic Geologic Structure and Stratigraphy   27     Paleomagnetic Analysis of Arctic Tectonic Problems   28     Seismologic Investigations   28     Seabed Imaging and Mapping   30     Magnetic and Gravity Data   31

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience     Sedimentary Record and Environmental History   32     The Record in Circum-Arctic Nonmarine and Paralic Sediments   32     Cretaceous Sediments   32     Tertiary and Quaternary Sediments   33     The Record in the Arctic Ocean Basin   36     Cretaceous and Tertiary Sediments   36     Quaternary Sediments   37     The Record in Arctic Ice Cores   39     Arctic Geologic Processes and Environmental Indicators   39     Paleoenvironmental Indicators   39     Sedimentation   40     Role of Sea Ice in Arctic Sedimentation   41     Paleobiogeography and Paleoecology   42     Possible Record of Solar-Terrestrial Interactions   43     Gas Hydrates and Offshore Permafrost   44 6   Logistic Realities and Opportunities   46     Support Facilities   46     Instrumentation   47     Earth-Orbiting Satellites   47     Aircraft   48     Logistic Support   48     Magnetic and Gravity Surveys   49     Drifting Stations   49     Ships   49     Ice Floes and Ice Islands   49     Over-Ice Surveys   50     Ships   50     Submarines   52     Deep Submersibles   53     Buoys   53     Subseabed Sampling   54 7   Research Priorities   56 8   Special Concerns   59     International Cooperation   59     Bibliographic and Translation Programs   59     Research Directory   59     Small Meetings   60     References   61

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience Illustrations Figures 1.   Subdivisions of the Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quaternary periods of the geologic time scale that are widely used in this report.   6 2.   Principal geographic and physiographic features of the Arctic Ocean region.   8 3.   Major structural features of the arctic region.   10 4.   Recent status of published topographic and bathymetric mapping in the Arctic Ocean region.   15 5.   Recent status of onshore geologic mapping in the Arctic Ocean region.   16 6.   Recent status of gravity field surveys in the Arctic Ocean region.   17 7.   Recent status of aeromagnetic field surveys in the Arctic Ocean region.   18 8.   Location of proposed continental margin transects in the Arctic Ocean region.   26 9.   The pre-Pleistocene stratigraphic record in the Arctic Ocean Basin represented by paleontologically dated cores as of 1990.   34 Table 1.   Matrix for evaluating the priority of research needs in the arctic solid-earth geosciences.   56

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Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience Opportunities and Priorities in ARCTIC GEOSCIENCE

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