Archived - Alpha Ridge Test of Appurtenance

Eureka (NU)

Reasons for a Federal Assessment
Project Description
Final Decision

Archived Content

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Reference Numbers

Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry: 07-01-31625
Natural Resources Canada: NT‑038

Environmental Assessment Type


Responsible or Regulated Authorities

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Natural Resources Canada

Reasons for a Federal Assessment

On July 16, 2007, it was determined that an environmental assessment was required in relation to the project because Natural Resources Canada was the proponent for the project and Fisheries and Oceans Canada considered taking action in relation to section 32 of the Fisheries Act.

Project Description (as posted in the Notice of Commencement)

Canada has ratified the United Nations International Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Article 76 of UNCLOS specifies a mechanism for defining the continental margins beyond the 200 nautical mile limit. These rights include powers over mineral and biological resources on and below the seabed and jurisdiction in matters related to environment and conservation. Bathymetry, gravity and seismic data are needed to substantiate the claim to the continental margins. For the purposes of this survey the acquisition of wide angle seismic reflection/ refraction data for the claim to the Alpha Ridge is planned. Explosives are required as the sound source due to the restrictions imposed by the sea ice, as well as the need to present strong arguments in support of the claim. This technique will provide detailed information on the distribution and thickness of subsurface layers with characteristic seismic velocities, in hopes of providing sufficient information to make the case that the Alpha Ridge has a similar velocity structure as the polar margin. For the seismic reflection/refraction data, 11 shots per line will be fired; the offset shots and the two furthest shots at the end of lines are 350 kg, while the middle shots will be 175 kg. The explosives, Primacord and detonators, will be suspended 100 m underneath the ice, and the sound will be recorded on 150 digital seismometers weighing less than 5kg on the sea ice. Operations will be based in Eureka (NU) with a crew of 26 people, in addition to a small emergency camp with ten individuals in the middle of the working area on the sea ice for safety. This project is scheduled to take place in March-May 2008.

Final Decision

A decision was taken on March 19, 2008 and was that the authorities may exercise any power or perform any duty or function with respect to the project because, after taking into consideration the screening report and taking into account the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, the authorities are of the opinion that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.