Geophysical crews have been collecting seismic data on the Arctic Coastal Plain for over 40 years. Most work is performed during the winter months to avoid environmental damage to the tundra. Seismic crews routinely operate over frozen lakes as well as on first year sea ice, and data collection may begin as soon as the ice is strong enough to support the equipment.

Traditionally, the safe-bearing capacity of ice has been related to a minimum thickness and a subjective determination of the condition of the ice. This criterion has been established through years of experience and, for the most part,...

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