National Geographic : 1949 Oct
The National Geographic Magazine States.* The Danes also are conducting a scientific expedition in Peary Land, at the northernmost tip of Greenland. For many years Americans have sung of Greenland's icy mountains, but aside from those lying immediately adjacent to its shore line, no one has seen them. If such there be, they are covered by the Greenland icecap. A French polar expedition led by Paul Victor has just completed its second summer in Greenland in an attempt, among other in vestigations, to determine the shapes and sizes of some of that huge island's hills and valleys by using sonic devices to penetrate the icecap. Alaska and Canada Hold Immense Natural Resources Both Alaska and northern Canada are rich storehouses of valuable minerals.t Alaska has yielded about two-thirds of a billion dollars in gold and another one-fourth billion in other metals, including copper, silver, platinum, tungsten, lead, and tin, since its purchase by the United States in 1867. Mines of the Yukon and Northwest Territories pro duce some two to three million dollars in minerals annually. Port Radium at Great Bear Lake is one of the world's greatest known sources of radio active minerals, but the actual rate of pro duction is a security secret. Port Radium is connected to shipping on the Mackenzie River by water through Great Bear Lake and River, with a short truck road link near Fort Norman. At Yellowknife to the south, on Great Slave Lake, a newly discovered gold field is now a rich producer. Supplies for these two mining areas of the far north are handled largely by air. Canada has completed a road north from the railroad at Grimshaw to reach Great Slave Lake at Hay River. Winter tractor trails constitute the principal overland supply lines. Oil is produced and refined at Norman Wells to supply the needs of the mines and local transportation. This oil field is the source of the much-disputed wartime Canol pipe line built to supply oil to the Alaska Highway.$ The oil derives from an ancient coral reef similar to those being discovered in central Alberta. It is now believed that a series of these oil-producing formations may be found in the valleys east of the Rocky Mountains, all the way north from Turner Valley, south of Calgary, to the Arctic Ocean. The new discovery at Leduc, near Edmonton, has fur ther strengthened this hope. In the Colville River district of Arctic Alaska lies the 37,000-square-mile Naval Oil Reserve No. 4. Since 1944 this area has been extensively explored for oil. Last July the Navy announced that discoveries had indi cated reserves far more widespread than ex pected. Natural gas deposits, tests indicate, may be in commercial quantity. A well drilled six miles south of Point Barrow will meet all fuel requirements for heating and cooking at Navy installations there. Five deep wells have been dug and three others are being drilled. All except one have produced "shows" of oil and gas, the Navy announced. Untapped Mineral Resources The new map shows one of the most im portant New World northern discoveries, in the Burnt Creek area along the Labrador Quebec boundary. Exploration here by the Labrador Mining and Exploration Company Limited, which has rights over a tract of 24,000 square miles, has disclosed an enor mous quantity of high-grade iron ore.§ However, before this ore can be marketed, it will be necessary to build 360 miles of new railway from Seven Islands, St. Lawrence River port, to the field. A complete city and a large hydroelectric plant must be built. Even then, if this ore is to reach the mills of Pittsburgh and the Great Lakes area, a St. Lawrence ship canal likely would be necessary. Another giant mining project is under way to the south, near the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Near Lake Allard, 20 miles north of Havre St. Pierre, ground was broken last spring for what may prove to be one of the world's largest high-grade deposits of titanium. For merly a near-monopoly of India, titanium is a component of high-grade alloys and also yields pigments for paints. A 27-mile railroad must be built to bring the ore to the docks at Havre St. Pierre. The ore will be refined at a new electric smelting plant to be erected at Sorel, Quebec. * See "Milestones in My Arctic Journeys," by Willie Knutsen, page 543. t See, in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE: "Strategic Alaska Looks Ahead," by Ernest H. Gruen ing, September, 1942; "Canada's War Effort," by Bruce Hutchison, November, 1941; "Canada's Awak ening North," by Lawrence J. Burpee, June, 1936; and "Gentlemen Adventurers of the Air," by J. A . Wilson, November, 1929. t See "Alaskan Highway, an Engineering Epic," by Froelich Rainey, NATIONAL GEOG;RAPIC MAGAZINE, February, 1943. § See "Quebec's Forests. Farms, and Frontiers," by Andrew H. Brown, page 431.