Assessment and development of pipeline projects in northern Canada, such as the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline (MGP), are hampered by a lack of baseline terrain geoscience information including drift thickness, sediment type, presence of massive ground ice, and the availability of granular aggregate resources. Clearly there is a need by Industry, Regulators, Aboriginal groups, and others, to understand the nature and character of near-surface earth materials, in order that pipeline proposals can be properly developed, evaluated, and when approved, proceed with the greatest degree of environmental sustainability and economic efficiency. While numerous field-based reports and surficial geology maps have been prepared for the MGP, there are long stretches along the proposed route for which little near-surface geoscience information is available. This is even more apt for areas outside the defined MGP corridor, where the likelihood of tie-in and gathering pipeline systems exist. Drillers’ logs, recorded during auger drilling of seismic shotholes, represent a virtually untapped resource of regional baseline geoscience information. The Geological Survey of Canada recently produced a digital archive of 76,000 shothole records from the Northwest Territories and Yukon, which had originally been collected on file cards in response to the 1970’s MGP proposal. Released in 2007 as a freely downloadable Open File report (#5465), the archive provides users with an Access database of drillers’ logs and derivative GIS maps in which shapefiles of drift isopach thickness, potential granular aggregate resources, geohazards, permafrost and ground ice occurrences, and muskeg thickness can be opened, viewed, and queried, or otherwise incorporated into GIS platforms of the user’s choice. Realizing the amount of additional archival shothole information held by Industry, and the great utility of bringing this forth in a public database and derivative GIS, a subsequent project has focused on capturing and integrating additional data. Receiving near-universal support by the Petroleum Industry, a Version 2 of the database and GIS is currently being assembled, and is scheduled for release in 2009 with some quarter million individual shothole drillers’ records. This presentation highlights the nature, character and distribution of shothole drillers’ logs in northern Canada. It also reviews the derived GIS layers, and how this baseline geoscience information can be beneficially utilized by the Pipeline and related infrastructure development industries, particularly as it may apply to focusing future field studies. It also serves as a key reference tool for those assessing pipeline development proposals.

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