Reconnaissance seabed mapping around the Hall and Cumberland Peninsulas, Nunavut: Opening up the SE Baffin coastline to geological investigations


The waters around southeastern Baffin Island are some of the least known areas of Canada’s submerged lands. The existing knowledge of bedrock geology offshore of Hall and Cumberland peninsulas is constrained primarily by aeromagnetic signatures. The surficial geology is inferred mainly from regional bathymetry and ice-flow directions on the adjacent landmasses.

With the almost complete lack of bathymetric definition within 10–30 km of the coastline, the area is not even safely accessible to shipping. Any future development of land-based resources on Hall and Cumberland peninsulas will require safe shipping access to port facilities. With the macrotidal environment and numerous restricted channels, the area has significant unexplored potential for tidal-power generation within the waters included in the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement. For either of these opportunities, adequate environmental assessment of the area will be a necessary precursor to development. That assessment will require knowledge of the submarine-geohazard potential, including iceberg scouring, active sediment-transport processes and submarine mass-wasting. To address these deficiencies in geoscience knowledge, a reconnaissance seabed-mapping program has been underway for the past three years.

The project activities of the Nuliajuk Seabed Mapping Program (NSMP) include 1) definition of safe access routes into the coastal waters of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement; 2) delineation of seabed morphology along those access routes as an aid in understanding potential marine geohazards; and 3) acquisition of shallow sub-bottom profiling along those routes to define the distribution of surficial sediment.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

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Summary of Activities 2014, Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office

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