The Amerasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean remains one of the last plate tectonic puzzles on Earth. It's ocean floor has never been drilled scientifically and its origin is very controversial. We are integrating our work across Arctic Russia with new data being collected within the Amerasia Basin in order to place kinematic and timing constraints on the plate tectonic rift history of the Arctic Ocean.
The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO, Jakobsson et al., 2000) above, as well as high resolution multibeam bathymetry (below, Northwind Ridge) collected on the USCGC Healy offer new information about the tectonic geomorphology of the Amerasia Basin.
Oblique view of bathymetry along the Northwind Ridge, Arctic Ocean.
For the first time in history, countries are delineating their continental boundaries without confilct, and with cooperation between nations. In 2008 (and in upcoming summer 2009) the USCGC Healy and the CCG Louis S. St. Laurent (below) conduct joint data collection operations within the Amerasia Basin. The bathymetric and multi-channel seismic data, as well as dredged rock samples collected for the Law of the Sea effort has been, and will continue to be, important to our understanding about the enigmantic history of the Arctic Ocean.
USCGC Healy and CCG Louis S. St. Laurent in the Arctic Ocean, summer 2008
Because of the difficulties associated with traditional data collection techniques in the ice covered waters of the Arcitc Ocean, this area remains one of the last frontiers on the planet.
On every expedition, marine mammal observers are part of the science party. This helps to ensure that our curiosity about their environment, does not cause them harm. Cruise planning also includes consultation with Inupiat elders in order to avoid conflicts with whale hunting season.
Nanuk on the sea ice hundreds of kilometers from land, is not overly concerned about the presence of a big red boat.
Some recent publications:
2011 Saltus, R.W., Miller, E.L., Gaina, C. and Brown, P. J., Regional magnetic domains of the circum-Arctic- A framework for geodynamic interpretion, in, Spencer, A. M., Embry, A. F., Gautier, D. L., Stoupakova, A. V. & Sørensen, K. (eds) Arctic Petroleum Geology. Geological Society, London, Memoir 35, 49–60.