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  • Project Type:

    Scientific Research

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    Geological study and mapping of hydrothermal deposits and gossans at Expedition Fiord, Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, as analogues for Mars

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Geological mapping and study of hydrothermal deposits and gossans at Expedition Fiord, Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, as analogues for Mars. Myriam Lemelin, Département de géomatique appliquée, Université de SherbrookeGossans are surficial deposits that form through the chemical and physical weathering of bedrock. They can be preserved for thousands of years in the permafrost. In the Expedition Fiord area of Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, gossans are associated with ancient hydrothermal deposits that contain minerals also found on Mars. These minerals can preserve traces of microbial life but the way they formed is still unknown. Importantly, gossans in the Expedition Fiord area could be part of a network of fractures through which hydrothermal fluids have been circulating for millions of years. It is possible that these gossans have been formed through the interaction between the metal-rich bedrock and ancient deposits formed in a hydrothermal system. If such, this would have important implication in the search for life on Mars. It is highly probable that hydrothermal systems were active on Mars billions of years ago. These systems are key places to look for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars. Our main objective is to study gossans in the Expedition Fiord area as indicators of ancient hydrothermal systems on Mars at various spatial scales in the context of current and future Mars exploration missions. The specific objectives are as follows: 1. Map the Expedition Fiord area and detect gossans using satellite imagery. 2. Investigate the spectral signature, composition, and potential biosignatures in the gossans and hydrothermal deposits. 3. Conduct detailed spectroscopic, compositional, and biological studies on the returned samples in our university laboratories.The research will be conducted from a base camp located a few kilometers north of the McGill Arctic Research Station, near Expedition Fiord, Axel Heiberg Island. 6 people will be staying at the temporary camp for for a period of 17 days from July 8 to July 24, 2022. The field crew will travel by foot traverse to local outcrops. They will use geological hammers to collect samples. They will also use portable scientific instruments to collect data directly from the outcrops. The fieldwork will not impact local wildlife in this uninhabited region of northern Nunavut. The closest community is Grise Fiord, Ellesmere Island. The data will be stored on portable computers. The data and results will be published in open files and journal articles.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • Received Project Licences, Permits and Authorizations from AA 2022-05-26
  • Application screening completed 2022-05-25
  • NOI Issued 2022-05-25
  • SDR Issued 2022-05-25
  • Board voting 2022-05-25
  • Board voting 2022-05-24
  • Received Comment submissions from Parties: Notice re comments received 2022-05-06
  • Commenting period 2022-05-05
  • Application screening started 2022-04-22
  • North Baffin
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