Abstract

Despite record-low sea ice extents over the past five years, the high Arctic Ocean remains one of the most difficult operational environments on Earth for marine geophysical data acquisition. Until 2006, the extent of seismic reflection data in the western Arctic Ocean (western, from a North American perspective) amounted to ∼3000 line-km. In 2008, the United States and Canada teamed up to embark on four years of joint marine operations to acquire in excess of 15,000 line-km of geophysical data reaching to the farthest points north. Each nation contributed an icebreaker to operate jointly to acquire seismic reflection, seismic refraction, shipborne gravity, single and multibeam bathymetry, and subbottom reflection data. This article presents some of the operational aspects of data acquisition in perennially ice-covered seas and demonstrates some of the outstanding data that resulted, focusing on the seismic components of the program. The multibeam-sonar component of the program is published by Armstrong et al. (2012).

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