It is generally accepted that North America is faced with a serious energy crisis. The Arctic will inevitably play a most important part in satisfying this crucial energy need. The sea ice covered area of the Arctic, one of the last frontiers in exploration, has just barely been investigated. Because of its location and environment, new problems have been encountered. In most cases, prevailing exploration methods do not work efficiently or safely in this new environment.
This paper deals with a brief look at past efforts-along with some of the newer approaches in Arctic sea ice transportation, camp accommodations and operations. All of these are discussed in relation to today?s mushrooming costs while maintaining man's safety on sea ice projects as a prime consideration. Since Arctic sea ice projects are inherently more hazardous and more costly than those on the continent, it is imperative that our industry apply its talents to the improvement of field operations efficiency, safety, pre-planning and data gathering techniques.
With all of our Arctic experience, maximum safety and efficiency still has not been attained. Perhaps some of us are not using the right type of camp, or the right type of vehicles or perhaps some of us are not pre-planning enough, and maybe the logistical support is inadequate or, are we using the right energy source on every prospect and is there an operator in the Arctic who can say he is using the safest equipment now available??? I'm not aware of a single operator who can say likes ll to all of these questions.
Most sea ice exploration, to date, has been conducted with camps and vehicles that can't float - a factor that bears heavily on the minds of men who have to work in areas where possible ice leads exist. We still tow camps with heavy "dead weight" dozer tractors and in most cases our drills are mounted on track vehicles that will sink as well as the proverbial "Lead Balloon".
In effect, our industry has asked, and continues to ask our field personnel to work in this hazardous area without the benefit of the safest equipment that is available now. (See Figures #1 and #2)
Should you be required to design a geophysical crew for sea ice work, I would ask you to give consideration to the following points:
Ice leads are ever-present in the Arctic. Equipment mounted on tracks, sleighs or skids will not float and do, therefore, place mens lives in jeopardy when crossing these leads or areas of thin ice. (See Figures #3 and #4)
Tires, however, if properly selected, do float. In addition, there are tires available that can provide low ice-bearing pressure due to their large flat plate areas. It follows then that we must select those floatable tires that have the largest flat plate area if we are to provide our personnel with the greatest degree of safety.