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TitleArchival data mining activities in northwestern Canada: serendipitous science and its use in advancing understanding of Quaternary environments
AuthorSmith, RORCID logo
SourceINQUA 2019: 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research, programme; P-1270, 2019 p. 1 Open Access logo Open Access
LinksOnline - En ligne
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180354
PublisherInternational Union for Quaternary Researc
MeetingINQUA 2019: 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research; Dublin; IE; July 25-31, 2019
DocumentWeb site
Mediaon-line; digital
File formathtml; pdf
ProvinceNorthwest Territories
NTS65; 66; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 105; 106; 107; 117
Lat/Long WENS-136.5000 -102.0000 90.0000 60.0000
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; regional geology; geophysics; geochemistry; sedimentology; paleontology; economic geology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; Economics and Industry; data collections; geophysical logging; seismic data; grab samples; well logging; lithostratigraphy; lithogeochemistry; sediments; glacial deposits; tills; drift deposits; bedrock geology; lithology; petroleum industry; exploration wells; overburden thickness; isopachs; ice thicknesses; mineral deposits; aggregates; environmental analysis; Data mining; Databases; Geographic data; Geographic information systems; Mining industry
ProgramGEM2: Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Western Arctic Sverdrup Basin
Released2019 07 01
AbstractMany examples of known and likely yet to be discovered archival datasets held by industry, governments, and regulatory bodies contain invaluable treasure troves (sometimes quagmires) of observational and instrumental data. Recognizing and identifying the potential of these (particularly those collected for unrelated/unintended purposes) is often a first step to constructing databases that enable significant and at time serendipitous advances in understanding diverse aspects of Quaternary environments. This study provides examples of three such projects and discusses their application and issues surrounding data formats, accessibility, interoperability, and uptake by researchers and the public. Momentum created by these kinds of database projects manifests in establishing formal arrangements for future data collection, standardization, and digital integration.
The first dataset discussed is seismic shothole drillers' logs which were dismissed by industry as 'junk data' and only fleetingly used by Mackay and Rampton in the early 1970s to investigate buried ice in Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, Canada, and by the Geological Survey of Canada in 1974-1975 as an aid to hurried surficial geology mapping along a proposed 1400 km pipeline corridor. These logs of shallow (avg. 18.6 m deep) lithostratigraphy were collected by industry as a means of simply understanding what the seismic charge was seated in (pertaining to implications for potential static interferences). Originally discovered by the author as a forgotten archive of 76 000 4 in. x 6 in. paper file cards with hand-written and typed logs, these led to a 4 year industry-wide archival recovery project, that manifested as the single largest source (n=360,000 records) of baseline, near-surface geoscience information across 0.5 million km2 of northwestern Canada. Interpolative databases, and derivative GIS products and models led to more than 12 thematic geoscience reconstructions ranging from geohazard identification, granular aggregate resources, and regional till facies, to offshore marine bottom-fast and winter lake ice thickness and extents, to baselines for assessing vegetative recolonization and habitat alteration.
The second dataset relates to grab samples collected during drilling of seismic shotholes that were then used to provide lithogeochemical information. Approximately 9000 basal and intermediary sediment/bedrock samples were collected over a 4 year period of intense seismic exploration activity through the western Canadian arctic mainland and island archipelago. These samples permitted preliminary lithological, sedimentological, paleontological, and geochemical assessments to be made across a vast, often unexplored area, greatly expanding the understanding and mapping of regional geology.
The final dataset relates to diamond drill hole and petroleum well logs reported in exploration company assessment reports filed with government regulators in Canada's Northwest Territories. These provide unique records of drift and bedrock thicknesses, and are being used to construct drift isopach maps and model till and other glacial deposit facies as an aid to regional mineral exploration activities.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This abstract, submitted for a poster presentation, outlines three projects that have mined different archives of geological information as a means of providing new insights into Quaternary environments. The insight and interpretations supported by these data mining activities contribute significant benefits to different GEM project objectives, and expand the broader impact and applicability of the GSC's research programs for northern resource exploration and development, and sustainable northern infrastructure and communities.

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