HYDRO 2016 Paper 9A4

Multibeam mapping of remote fjords in Southeast-Greenland – A survey on a vintage vessel

Wilhelm Weinrebe, Kristian K. Kjeldsen


The fjords of Southeast-Greenland are among the most remote areas of the northern Hemisphere. Access to this area is hampered by a broad belt of sea ice floating along the East-Greenland coast from north to south. Consequently, the majority of those fjords have never been surveyed until now. During an expedition by the Center of GeoGenetics of the University of Copenhagen in summer of 2014 we were able to map the Skjoldungen Fjord system with multibeam bathymetry. The topsail schooner "ACTIV", built 1951 as a cargo ship to supply remote settlements in Greenland was chosen for the expedition. Though a vintage vessel, the "ACTIV" was well suited to cross the belt of sea ice and to cruise the ice covered fjords. A portable ELAC-Seabeam 1050 multibeam system was temporarily installed on the vessel. The two transducer of the system were mounted at the lower end of a 6 m long pole attached outboard at port side. Though the installation was quite demanding without any winches or cranes, the construction was sufficiently stable and easy to manage throughout the entire cruise.

The area which was mapped had never been surveyed before using a multibeam system, furthermore, for great parts of the region no sounding information were available at all. The conditions for multibeam surveys in this area and particularly on this cruise were difficult, and of course this has actually affected the quality of the data. Anyhow, the results of the multibeam surveys clearly demonstrate that it is actually possible using a ship such as the "ACTIV" and a temporary installation to achieve bathymetric maps of satisfactory quality even under difficult conditions in remote areas.

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