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TitleThe coastal morphology and sedimentology of eastern Lancaster sound and northeast Baffin Island: a study of shoreline sensitivity to a potential oil spill
AuthorMcLaren, P; Barrie, W B; Geological Survey of Canada
SourceGeological Survey of Canada, Paper 83-24, 1985, 32 pages (6 sheets),
MapsPublication contains 6 maps
Map Info.surficial geology, beach topography, 1:250,000
Map Info.environmental, environmental, 1:250,000
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS48; 47G; 47H; 38A; 38B; 38C; 38D; 38E; 38F; 38G; 37E; 37G; 37H; 57H; 58; 27F; 27G; 28A; 37
AreaDevon Island; Baffin Island; Lancaster Sound
Lat/Long WENS-96.0000 -68.0000 76.0000 70.0000
Subjectsenvironmental geology; sedimentology; surficial geology/geomorphology; coastal studies; oil spills; sediments; hydrocarbons; pollution; Quaternary
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs
Released1985 06 01; 2016 02 02
AbstractThe coasts of eastern Lancaster Sound and northeast Baffin Island may be vulnerable to the effects of an oil spill should offshore drilling take place. Effective protection and cleanup strategies must follow pre-established priorities. To provide the physical environmental information necessary for future contingency planning, the coast was mapped with respect to (i) slope, (ii) glacier, rock or unconsolidated coast, (iii) type and sedimentology of the beach and (iv) nature of the intertidal zone. Each of these geomorphic/ sedimentologic criteria provides an indication of the coastal "physical sensitivity''. This term is a relative measure of the seriousness of oil pollution in a particular environment with respect to probable dispersal of oil , residence time and cleanup difficulties. Physical sensitivity increases when (i) slope decreases, (ii) the coast is unconsolidated, (iii) a beach is present, (iv) the beach material is coarse rather than fine, (v) intertidal flats are present, and (vi) the width of the intertidal flat increases. Empirical values allotted to each of the descriptive elements of the map legend enable each coastal map unit to be placed in an appropriate physical sensitivity category (PSC) from O to 10. In general, as the PSC increases, the fallowing also increase: (i) the persistence time of hydrocarbons in the environment and hence the need for cleanup, (ii) cleanup difficulties and (iii) the potential damage to the environment by cleanup operations. The physical sensitivity maps will enable rapid determination of the environments that warrant protection whereas, if oil does pollute the coast, the descriptive maps will provide the basis for cleanup procedures. In general, the amount of shoreline in high physical sensitivity categories (8 to 10) is small, constituting only 6 per cent of the total coast. Furthermore, the ubiquitous effects of ice in all coastal environments may significantly decrease residence time of oil through mechanical abrasion and sediment removal. Because of the small population and the difficulties of operating effective countermeasures in an ice environment, protection and cleanup will be unrealistic for anything more than small local priorities.