Cold Regions Division, Canadian Geotechnical Society:

The 44th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Geotechnical Society was held in Calgary, 29 September to 2 October 1991. As usual, the Cold Regions Division sponsored a session on Cold Regions Engineering, in which eight papers were presented. The papers dealt with the distribution of saline permafrost in the N.W.T., the performance of frost heave and freeze-thaw tests in the laboratory, the dynamic response of piles in frozen soils, the performance of grouts for piles in permafrost, arctic offshore exploration structures, penetration testing for arctic soils, and the measurement of pore water pressures in freezing and thawing soils. In addition to this paper session, J.F. (Denck) Nixon, of Esso Resources Canada, Ltd., gave the R.M. Hardy Keynote Address on the topic of "Frost Heave Prediction." In his address, Nixon presented an overview of recent developments in the theory and practice of frost heave modeling.

The Geotechnical Society now includes a fifth Division, the Environmental Engineering Division, which has aroused considerable interest. This Division also sponsored a session at the recent conference, with 13 papers scheduled.

At the business meeting of the Cold Regions Division, concern was expressed about the low level of permafrost research activity in Canada. This reflects, in large measure, the current low level of petroleum and mineral exploration and development activities in Canada's arctic regions.

The 45th Canadian Geotechnical Conference, to be held in Toronto, 26-28 October 1992, will include two sessions sponsored by the Cold Regions Division: one on Permafrost Terrain and the other on the North Warning System (see Calendar).


The 1991 Roger J.E. Brown Award, which was established in 1986 to honor the memory of the renowned Canadian permafrost scientist, was awarded to Dr. Don Hayley of EBA Engineering Consultants Ltd., Edmonton, for his services to permafrost engineering and science in Canada. Don Hayley was the founding president of the Cold Regions Division, Canadian Geotechnical Society. He is also former chairman of the Canadian Permafrost Subcommittee (now disbanded), and is currently a member of the Canadian National Committee for the IPA.

Dr. Branko Ladanyi, of école Polytechnique, Université de Montréal, was awarded the 1991 Elbert F. Rice Memorial Lectureship of the School of Engineering, University of Alaska, and the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering, American Society of Civil Engineers. The award was given to Branko Ladanyi "in recognition of his long-standing contribution to cold regions engineering."

Permafrost Research at the Geological Survey of Canada:

The Geological Survey of Canada comprises one of the largest groups in Canada of scientists (as distinct from engineers) and technicians devoted primarily to permafrost research. Most of the work is carried out within the Terrain Dynamics Subdivision. Terrain Sciences Division, based in Ottawa. Other permafrost work is carried out in the Environmental Marine Geology Subdivision. Atlantic Geoscience Centre, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and at the Centre Géoscientifique du Québec, in Québec City. Because of its implications for petroleum exploration, development and transportation in arctic regions,much of this research is undertaken with funding support from the Energy Research Program of the Government of Canada.

Work being done in Terrain Sciences Division comprises geothermal studies, geophysical research, and geological and geotechnical studies. The geothermal studies include basic research on heat and mass transfer processes in frozen ground, laboratory modeling of frozen ground, the routine measurement of deep ground temperatures in oil wells in the permafrost regions of Canada, and studies of gas hydrates. Geophysical research includes the development of geophysical systems (instruments, recording techniques, processing software) for the identification of ice-bonded soils and for the determination of ground ice conditions with soils. Techniques under development include high resolution refraction seismic for both land and marine applications, seismic shear waves and ground-penetrating radar. Other research includes studies of the mechanical properties of frozen ground, of slope stability in permafrost terrain, of ground ice and its properties, of the performance of pipeline rights-of-way in permafrost regions, and the relationship of permafrost conditions to climate and to possible future climatic changes. Within Atlantic Geoscience Centre, studies have concentrated on the geotechnical properties of seabed materials and on elucidating the form, and the history of the multi-layered subsea permafrost bodies of the Beaufort Sea continental shelf.

A major multidisciplinary project to examine geotechnical and geological conditions in the shore zone of the Beaufort Sea in the Canadian western Arctic was recently completed. The project was a cooperative venture between Geological Survey of Canada, Gulf Canada Resources, Esso Resources Canada, Ltd., Hill Geoscience Research. and the Inuvik Scientific Research Centre. The study comprised the drilling, coring and sampling of a line of six deep boreholes (depths of 30 to 100 m) extending from onshore on northern Richards Island out to a water depth of 12 m, 22 km offshore, plus three shallower holes (18 to 21 m depth) right at the coastline. The drilling was done in late winter of 1990, through the land-fast ice, using terrestrial drilling techniques and chilled drilling mud. Associated studies included 12 cone penetrometer tests, geothermal studies down-hole and other geological tests and observations. Results of the field and laboratory studies are still being analyzed.

In July 1 a party of five scientists and technicians from Terrain Sciences Division visited the Yamal and Gydan peninsulas of northern West Siberia, U.S.S.R., for a cooperative study of geophysical and geotechnical methods used for the detection and mapping of ice-rich sediments in areas of oil/gas well sites and pipelines. The Soviet participants were from VSEGINGEO, U.S.S.R. Ministry of Geology. The techniques utilized comprised engineering geology, seismic and electrical profiling, georadar, and geothermal studies. The Soviet side provided drilling and sampling equipment, camp facilities, and all air and ground transportation. Accomplishments included the development of a new field technique for mapping shallow massive ice (5- to 20-m depth) using combined Soviet and Canadian technology, and exposure of both sides to the equipment and methods of the other. A series of reports is in progress, and joint presentations are being planned for the VI International Permafrost Conference, Beijing, 1993. The Soviet side is expected to visit Canada in March/April 1992, for combined field work in the Mackenzie Delta region.

Prepared by J.A. Heginbottom,
Secretary, CNC/IPA
Geological Survey of Canada