Abstract

Hydrocarbon resource potential and a growing population have increased the need for new marine infrastructure in the Baffin Bay region. Before determining the viability of any seabed development, scientific understanding of geological hazards is essential. For this study, high resolution geophysical data and sediment samples on the Northeast Baffin Shelf and Lancaster Sound were analyzed to develop a shallow geological framework for the area and determine the distribution and severity of seabed hazards. The modern seafloor morphology and shallow stratigraphy are strongly influenced by past glacial processes. The Northeast Baffin Shelf consists of glacially eroded transverse troughs separated by flat-topped banks where glacial ice-contact and ice-proximal sediments rest on bedrock and are overlain discontinuously by postglacial sand or mud of various thickness. Lancaster Sound, which was occupied by glacial ice during the last glaciation, shares a similar shallow stratigraphy. Geohazards in the Baffin region differ from elsewhere on Canada’s eastern continental margin. It is a seismically-active passive margin and its Arctic location means the area is more prone to the effects of iceberg scour and sea ice. Geohazards on the Baffin Shelf include hydrocarbon venting features, uneven seabed caused by glacial seabed features, seabed instability and sediment transport at trough margins, ice scour, and a high level of seismic activity.

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