2009 Extended Continental Shelf Project

US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent side by side.

US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent side by side. Credit: USGS

The 41-day 2009 mission involving two icebreakers ran from August 7 to September 16.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Healy and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Louis S. St-Laurent worked together to collect data both countries will use. Healy collected multibeam bathymetric data, which provides information on the depth and shape of the seafloor. Healy also collected gravity and sub-bottom profiler data to help characterize the nature of the sediment and sub-bottom. Louis S. St-Laurent collected seismic data, which provides information on the depth and characteristics of sub-bottom sediments, as well as gravity data. Healy cleared a path through the ice for Louis S. St-Laurent's seismic data collection work. In ice conditions that preclude operation of the Louis S. St-Laurent's seismic Louis S. St-Laurentcleared the path for the Healy.

This mission was the second year of collaboration between the U.S. and Canada on extended continental shelf data collection in the Arctic and the two nations are working together again for the Summer 2010 survey.

The U.S. portion of the mission was be led by the University of New Hampshire's (UNH) Joint Hydrographic Center (JHC) with funding and scientific support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Dr. Larry Mayer, UNH Co-Director of the JHC, served as expedition Chief Scientist, and Capt. Andy Armstrong, NOAA Office of Coast Survey researcher and Co-Director of the JHC, will be Co-Chief Scientist. The Canadian portion of the mission was led by Dr. David Mosher of Natural Resources Canada's Geological Survey.

The collaboration continued to save millions of dollars for both countries, provided data both countries need, ensured that data are collected only once in the same area, and increased scientific and diplomatic cooperation.