Post-Expedition Report for USGS T-3 Ice Island Heat Flow Measurements in the High Arctic Ocean, 1963-1973

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Frequently anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

Post-Expedition Report for USGS T-3 Ice Island Heat Flow Measurements in the High Arctic Ocean, 1963-1973
In February 1963, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a study of heat flow in the Arctic Ocean Basin and acquired data at 356 sites in Canada Basin and Nautilus Basin and on Alpha-Mendeleev Ridge by the end of the project in 1973. The USGS heat flow and associated piston coring operations were conducted from a scientific station on the freely drifting T-3 Ice island (also known as Fletcher's Ice Island). The Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL) had established T-3 as a drifting research station in 1962 and, along with the Office of Naval Research, kept it operating continuously until September 28, 1974. The USGS heat flow studies were part of the scientific effort supported by the NARL.
Additional information regarding the field activity can be obtained from
Provided as a supplement to the report is an interim 1971 report. The 1971 report summarizes some of the results up to that date and indicates the future direction of the work.
  1. How might this data set be cited?
    Lachenbruch, Arthur H., Marshall, B. Vaughn, and Ruppel, Carolyn D., 2019, Post-Expedition Report for USGS T-3 Ice Island Heat Flow Measurements in the High Arctic Ocean, 1963-1973: data release DOI:10.5066/P91XQ3IS, U.S. Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole, MA.

    Online Links:

    Suggested citation: Lachenbruch, A.H., Marshall, B.V., and Ruppel, C.D., 2019, Post-expedition report for USGS T-3 Ice Island heat flow measurements in the High Arctic Ocean, 1963-1973: U.S. Geological Survey data release,
    The digital version of the data in this report is available from: Ruppel, C.D., Hutchinson, D.H., Lachenbruch, A.H., and Hall, J.K., 2019, Thermal Data and Navigation for T-3 (Fletcher's) Ice Island Arctic Ocean Heat Flow Studies, 1963-1973: U.S. Geological Survey data release,
  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?
    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -177
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -78
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 86.1
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 75.3
  3. What does it look like? (JPEG)
    Map showing the drift path of the T-3 ice island (black curve) and the successful heat flow penetrations (red circles) documented in this report. The background bathymetry is from: Jakobsson, M., et al. ( 2012), The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) Version 3.0, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L12609, doi:10.1029/2012GL052219. Inset shows the Arctic Ocean and surrounding land masses, with the red box indicating the approximate area corresponding to the larger map.
  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?
    Beginning_Date: 1963
    Ending_Date: 1973
    time period covered by the data acquisition
  5. What is the general form of this data set?
  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?
    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?
    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?
      Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitudes are given to the nearest 0.01. Longitudes are given to the nearest 0.01. Latitude and longitude values are specified in Degrees and decimal minutes. The horizontal datum used is North American Datum of 1927.
      The ellipsoid used is Clarke 1866.
      The semi-major axis of the ellipsoid used is 6378206.4.
      The flattening of the ellipsoid used is 1/294.978698214.
  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
    • Arthur H. Lachenbruch
    • B. Vaughn Marshall
    • Carolyn D. Ruppel
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?
  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: Carolyn D. Ruppel
    Research Geophysicist
    384 Woods Hole Rd.
    Woods Hole, MA

    (508) 548-8700 x2339 (voice)
    (508) 457-2310 (FAX)

Why was the data set created?

To provide the valuable information and data in an unpublished report from the 1970s, including heat flow measurements and radiogenic heat determinations in the High Arctic Ocean collected from 1963 to 1973.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?
  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?
    Date: 1974 (process 1 of 3)
    This is an unpublished report formulated in the 1970s by a now-retired USGS scientist Art Lachenbruch and now-deceased USGS scientist B. Vaughn Marshall. The report was provided to the USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards Program by Dr. Lawrence Lawver of the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics. Dr. Barbara Lachenbruch, Emeritus Professor at Oregon State University, also has a copy of this report in the scientific papers of her father, Dr. Arthur H. Lachenbruch. From 2016 to 2019, the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center engaged in correspondence with Drs. Lawver and B. Lachenbruch to verify the state of the report. Some queries about the report and the T-3 measurements were also passed to Dr. A. Lachenbruch through his daughter.
    The report has standalone value as a scientific product and is also the source of the heat flow data (tables) used as the basis for the associated release and a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The report has therefore been updated and is being preserved by the USGS as a document associated with USGS Field Activity 1963-001-FA.
    The exact date of this unpublished report is unknown. Based on (a) the latest reference (Coachman L.K. and K. Aagaard, Physical Oceanography of Arctic and Subarctic Seas. In: Herman Y. (eds), Marine Geology and Oceanography of the Arctic Seas, pp. 1-72, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1974, being 1974; (b) the report's providing data through the end of the T-3 heat flow experiment in 1973; (c) the report's inclusion of some post-expedition analysis, we infer that the report was completed in ~1974.
    The report contains handwritten notes from the original authors, and only some of these notes have been transcribed (typed) into the document. The report uses the metric system to report water depths, but uses some non-SI units to describe the measurements made by the USGS. For example, heat flow is reported in heat flow units (HFU), which were commonly used until the 1980s. Radiogenic heat is reported in non-SI mass units (microcalorie per gram per year), while volumetric SI units (which inherently include density) are used in the modern era.
    Note that there have been some stability problems with the PDF of the report. Specifically, some of the notes added to the report in 2019 revert to incorrect fonts or text is not present when the PDF is opened (particularly in figure captions). If this occurs, please bring the problem to the attention of the USGS contact for this dataset.
    Date: 2019 (process 2 of 3)
    The original paper document was received by the USGS as a scan of a photocopied document from the scientific papers of Art Lachenbruch. Those papers are in the possession of Dr. B. Lachenbruch of Corvalis, Oregon. The scan was converted to PDF. When applicable, edits to the PDF were done using Adobe Acrobat DC Professional.
    In 2018 and 2019, C. Ruppel added typed necessary changes to the document, made some corrections, added printed figure captions, and transcribed, corrected and updated the handwritten reference list (and included DOI, where applicable).
    The handwritten figure numbers have been overwritten with typed numbers that correct the incorrect figure numbers starting in the “Ocean temperature” section.
    A note typed in red at the end of the main text documents the missing figures (70 and 71), which were referred to as 69 and 70 in the original document. Both Dr. B. Lachenbruch’s and Dr. Lawver’s versions of the report are missing Figures 70 and 71 (referred to as Figures 69 and 70 in the original version).
    The references were transcribed in 2019. Titles were added to the tables in 2019. The data in Tables 1 and 2 are being released in digital, quality-controlled format as part of the release associated with this study.
    Figure captions were added to the 69 available figures, transcribing the handwritten captions and adding information as necessary. For example, in some cases a geographic name used in the original report is no longer used in 2019. Incorrect figure numbers are so noted.
    Figure 9 is a map with different regions labelled by letter in the original. These letters are referred to in Table 3 and also in Figures 43 through 57. To increase the usability of Figure 9, the letter labels were typed in red where they could be read in the original report. Where the letters are not legible, this has been so noted.
    An interim report written by A.H. Lachenbruch and B.V. Marshall in 1971 is included as an appendix to the main report. The interim report was provided by Dr. B. Lachenbruch following a search through A. Lachenbruch’s scientific papers. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: Carolyn D. Ruppel
    Research Geophysicist
    384 Woods Hole Road
    Woods Hole, MA

    508-548-8700 x2339 (voice)
    508-457-2310 (FAX)
    Date: 08-Sep-2020 (process 3 of 3)
    Added keywords section with USGS persistent identifier as theme keyword. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: VeeAnn A. Cross
    Marine Geologist
    384 Woods Hole Road
    Woods Hole, MA

    508-548-8700 x2251 (voice)
    508-457-2310 (FAX)
  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?
    Ruppel, Carolyn D., Lachenbruch, Arthur H., Hutchinson, Deborah R., Munroe, R., and Mosher, D.C., 2019, Heat Flow in the Western Arctic Ocean (Amerasian Basin): Journal of Geophysical Research DOI:10.1029/2019JB017587, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C..

    Online Links:

    • XXXTo be added when JGR Paper is published XXX

    The Journal of Geophysical Research article relies on information and data documented in this report. The report provides the background about the data acquisition and the heat flow, radiogenic heat content, and other data used as the basis for the analysis and interpretation included in the journal article.
    Ruppel, C.D., Hutchinson, D.R., Lachenbruch, A.H., and Hall, J.K., 2019, Thermal Data and Navigation for T-3 (Fletcher's) Ice Island Arctic Ocean Heat Flow Studies, 1963-1973: data release DOI:10.5066/P97EPU2F, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA.

    Online Links:

    The sciencebase data release contains the digital version of the data presented in Tables 1 and 2 of this report. The release also contains an expanded version of Table 1 with additional information that includes the date of measurement, length of piston core recovered at the location, physiographic province, surficial geology, and other parameters. Navigational data for T-3 at one hour intervals commencing in 1962 are also included in the release.

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?
  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?
    Background on navigation is summarized in: Hunkins, K., and W. Tiemann (1977), Geophysical data summary for Fletcher's Ice Island (T-3), 1962-1974, Technical Report, Lamont-Doherty Survey of the World Ocean Rep. CU-1-77, 219 pp, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and in the Journal of Geophysical Research paper associated with this release. Before 1967, navigation relied on theodolite fixes of the sun (summer) and stars (winter) coupled with a chronometer that was frequently checked for accuracy via radio. Hunkins and Tiemann [1977] estimate a positional error of up to 1 km during the summer and 0.5 km in the winter for this period. Starting in 1967, satellite fixes from the Navy Navigation Satellite System provided positional fixes, and Hunkins and Tiemann [1977] estimate that positions were known within 250 m. Note that the position recorded in the heat flow data tables in this release may be the location of the ice camp at the beginning of, during, or at the end of the measurement. Also note that the location of the measurement on the seafloor could be displaced from the surface equipment since the wire holding the probe was not necessarily vertical beneath the surface. Based on the years of the T-3 heat flow measurements, the horizontal datum is assumed to be NAD27.
  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?
    The depths reported in the data table accompanying the report are apparently line-out depths for the heat flow apparatus. No additional information with regards to depth measurements is indicated, and no vertical coordinate system is specified. Note that Hunkins and Tiemann (1977) also collected depth measurements using seismic and subbottom profiling systems. It is not known whether these depth measurements were adopted for the heat flow dataset.
  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?
    This represents the complete scan of the available version of the report. The date of the report is unknown, but is estimated to be 1974 because the final data, which were collected in 1973, are included and the latest reference is from 1974. However, the report is missing some information. The figures that should be numbered 70 and 71 (originally referred to as 69 and 70) are missing from the version of the report provided to the USGS and from another copy of the report held by Dr. Larry Lawver. Appended to this report is a supplemental section that includes a 1971 interim report summarizing the status of USGS geothermal studies of the Arctic Ocean up until that point.
  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?
    This is a PDF of the original unpublished report containing valuable scientific information. The modifications to the report are for clarification only.

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
Access_Constraints None.
Use_Constraints Not to be used for navigation.
  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: Carolyn D. Ruppel
    Research Geophysicist
    384 Woods Hole Rd.
    Woods Hole, MA

    (508) 548-8700 x2339 (voice)
    (508) 457-2310 (FAX)
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set? The file contains the PDF of the scanned document (1963_001_FA_USGST3HeatFlowReport.pdf), a browse graphic (USGS_T3_overviewmap.jpg), and the CSDGM metadata in XML, TXT and HTML formats. The individual files are also available for download.
  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?
    Neither the U.S. Government, the Department of the Interior, nor the USGS, nor any of their employees, contractors, or subcontractors, make any warranty, express or implied, nor assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, nor represent that its use would not infringe on privately owned rights. The act of distribution shall not constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by the USGS in the use of these data or related materials. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
  4. How can I download or order the data?
  5. What hardware or software do I need in order to use the data set?
    The user must be capable of opening a PDF file.

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 18-Mar-2024
Metadata author:
U.S. Geological Survey
Attn: Carolyn D. Ruppel
Research Geophysicist
384 Woods Hole Rd.
Woods Hole, MA

508-548-8700 x2339 (voice)
508-457-2310 (FAX)
The metadata contact email address is a generic address in the event the person is no longer with USGS. (updated on 20240318)
Metadata standard:
Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

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