Field work 2022
The T-MARS field team traveled to Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut in July 2022 to collect geological samples and remote sensing data.
The 2022 field team is composed of:
- Marie-Claude Williamson, Geological Survey of Canada, Field Team Leader
- Stéphanie Lachance, UdeS, master student and specialist in remote predictive mapping
- Éloïse Brassard, UdeS, master student and specialist in spectral signatures
- Hiba Aoid, McGill, master student and specialist in astrobiology
- Cassandra Marion, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, in charge of research outreach and scientific support
- Sean Clark, Sacred Heart High School, responsible for educational capsules related to arctic research and scientific support
We conducted the field season with support from the Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP), which provides logistical support to scientists to facilitate fieldwork throughout the Canadian Arctic.
Prior to departure, much of our expedition gear and dry food for the three weeks of fieldwork had been sent to the PCSP Arctic logistics hub in Resolute Bay (Figure 1). All that was left to do was to bring our scientific instruments, personal gear and perishable food with us on the plane. We were ready for the big departure from Ottawa on the morning of July 6th! (figure 2)
Visit our interactive map to locate places of interest in the field campaign (in bold on this page)!
After a full day of air travel including stops in Iqaluit, Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay, the team finally arrived at the PCSP Arctic logistics hub in Resolute (Figure 3). This was followed by a 24-hour time trial to check out the expedition gear on loan from PCSP, reorganize all the gear and food into more convenient bags for transport (Figure 4), and decide what was going to be left behind to lighten our total weight of gear, given the changing weather conditions for air transport. This whole exercise was done with the intention of training the students on the logistical aspects of such an expedition.
On July 8, the day of the planned departure to Axel Heiberg Island, the logistics officers informed us that the departure would have to be postponed because of fog that prevented any air transport to the north, and because of... a flooded airstrip! Our 24-hour stay in Resolute turned into a week of reorganizing equipment, training team members in the use of various scientific instruments and protocols, preparing plans B, C and D in case of constraints in the field work and readjusting scientific objectives (Figure 5). Finally, a window of good weather occurred on July 14 and the team was able to travel to its first base camp (Camp #1 on the interactive map), with adjustments to the original transportation plan (Figure 6).
The team set up its first camp (Figure 7) 4 km north of the McGill Arctic Research Station. Once the camp was set up - under a torrential rain, which was no small task - two days of traverses on foot allowed us to sample at the White Glacier Vein Array (WGVA) site (Figures 8 to 10).
As of July 18, we are moving! Several helicopter shuttles were necessary to transfer all the equipment to the second base camp (Camp #2 on the interactive map, figure 11) near the McGill Arctic Research Station. The next day, the team split into two groups to simultaneously hike and sample west of the camp (Figure 12) and sample at Colour Peak, a salt dome full of gossans (Figures 13 and 14).
For the next three days, the team continued to work in subgroups to visit as many locations in the vicinity of the camp as possible, to meet the scientific objectives of each person, and to collect samples of gossans and geologic formations in the area (Figure 15 through 19).
On July 24, the scheduled day of return to Resolute, the sun was out after a week of fog. Thus, the team was able to leave Axel Heiberg Island and the other scientific teams from the research station with a heavy heart (Figure 20). After another 24 hours spent in Resolute reorganizing, drying and preparing the material for shipment by freighter to Ottawa, the team finally returned home safely with their precious samples. In the coming months, the students will be busy processing and characterizing the samples for their respective master's projects. This fieldwork experience was a learning experience for each member of the team and will serve as a lever for the organization of the 2023 campaign!