NRC names Arctic research priorities


  • Lynn Teo Simarski


The National Research Council's recently published report, “Opportunities and Priorities in Arctic Geoscience,” calls for solid Earth geoscience research in the region to focus on the Arctic Ocean basin, which is poorly understood compared to the land surrounding it. New technological and political events—the end of the Cold War and the possibility of using submarines and icebreakers as research platforms–are combining to permit a good look at the ocean for the first time.

“Aspects of Arctic solid-Earth geoscience with important implications for science and society beyond the Arctic include tectonic evolution, resource potential, paleoceanographic and climatic history, and geologic processes,” the report states. The plate tectonics of the Northern Hemisphere cannot be understood until the tectonics of the Arctic are unraveled, the report explains.