Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

Pioneering expedition in the Arctic Ocean

This summer, a hovercraft will embark upon a research voyage from Svalbard to the North Pole. This will be the first and the northernmost polar expedition undertaken with such a vessel.

”Never before has there been a Norwegian scientific expedition so far north. Not even Nansen or Amundsen made it this far,” says senior geologist Harald Brekke in the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD).

For four summers, the 12-metre long and 6-metre wide hovercraft Sabvabaa (Greenlandic for ”floats quickly over”) has acquired data in the areas north of the ice edge near Svalbard. Between July and September this year, the vessel will engage in activities such as mapping the geology in the submarine Lomonosov Ridge in the far north of the Arctic Ocean. This structure extends across the entire Arctic Ocean from Russia to Greenland and Canada, and was formed 65 million years ago.

The NPD is providing financial support for the expedition, while the University of Bergen and the independent research institute, the Nansen Centre, are contributing equipment and personnel. The expedition, christened ”Fram 2012”, will be led by Professor Yngve Kristoffersen.

 

Map  

The Arctic Ocean is composed of the two deepwater basins known as the Amerasia basin and the Eurasia basin, which are separated by the Lomonosov Ridge. The area for this year’s data acquisition with the Sabvabaa is marked with a white frame.

 


New knowledge
In addition to measuring the thickness of the sea ice, the Sabvabaa will acquire seismic data and take geological samples from the seabed. According to Brekke, much of the bedrock on the northernmost edge of the Barents Sea shelf has eroded over time. However, it is assumed that these rocks have been preserved in the Lomonosov Ridge.

”If we are to understand what was once there, we have to know as much as possible. Geological samples from the Lomonosov Ridge can therefore tell us what happened in the Barents Sea,” he says.

It is also interesting for the NPD to test the equipment, with a view towards using it on other mapping assignments in the north, he adds. Previously, only icebreakers could be used so close to the North Pole.

”Chartering an icebreaker costs about a half million NOK a day. A hovercraft costs far less than a tenth of that,” says Brekke. For example, the icebreaker consumes as much diesel during the course of a day as the hovercraft consumes over five months.

Moreover, the icebreaker largely has to follow the channels in the ice, while a hovercraft can move freely over the ice surface. This gives the researchers much greater freedom to explore the areas in the north.

The mapping of the Lomonosov Ridge is also interesting in terms of maritime law. The UN’s Law of the Sea Convention gives coastal states the right to demand extension of their economic zone, based on geological criteria, to delimit the individual countries’ continental shelves. All such demands for expansion must be documented with geological or geophysical data.

In 2001 and 2005, the NPD chartered the Swedish icebreaker Oden to acquire documentation for the Norwegian demand to set the border of the continental shelf outside 200 nautical miles north of Svalbard. This border was recommended by the UN’s Continental Shelf Commission in 2009. 

This summer, Oden has been chartered by the Danish authorities to map the areas north of Greenland. It will also supply the hovercraft with fuel.

Related news

Latest news

BP Awards Schlumberger Contract for Mad Dog 2 Project

Export Conference 2017: A changing world

Register for this year’s most important conference for Norwegian exporters. We can promise you an interesting and inspirational day!

Meet Elkem Silicon Materials at the Ceramics Expo 2017

Elkem Silicon Metrials invites to meet their team at the Ceramics Expo 2017. This is North America’s largest, free-to-attend exhibition for Ceramic manufacturing and applications.

Event - TechnipFMC at Gastech April 4

Most ship owners are now looking very closely at the benefits that digitalization can bring in operational gains.

Deepocean Awarded Surf Contract from BP for the Foinaven Field

DeepOcean today announced that it had received a call-off under its new Master Service Agreement (MSA) with BP Exploration Operating Company Ltd.

Parquet Floor - a Furniture in itself

Read how a Nordic style, maintenance free new floor is a furniture all in itself. 

Haavik in as Sales Director

Tor Henrik Haavik enters the role as Sales Director in Steinsvik AS. Haavik has an engineering education from Høgskolen i Haugesund and has been employed in Steinsvik since 2002. Haavik comes from the position of Sales Man...

Powder Characterization Experts Offer Solutions to Optimize Process Performance

Freeman Technology, the powder characterization specialists, will be exhibiting at the Ceramics Expo for the first time (25 – 27 April, Cleveland, OH, USA). The company offers material characterization solutions aimed at o...