Arctic Yakutia

Subaqueous Permafrost Drilling Program, Laptev Sea and Lena Delta (2014-2020*)

*Drilling in spring 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The program investigates the occurrence, structure and dynamics of permafrost (ice-bearing, ice-bonded, and unfrozen) beneath distributary channels, lakes, lagoons, and the seabed.

April 2019: three boreholes drilled from ice of the Olenek Channel near Samoylov Island, Lena Delta
April 2018: 65.5 m boreholes on Samoylov Island and Bolshaya Tumat Channel, Lena Delta
April 2017: drilling and geophysical surveys in Omulyakh, Pestsovaya and Goltsovoe lagoons, Bykovsky Peninsula
April 2016: drilling (seven boreholes up to 26 m in depth) and GPR survey along two profiles in Bolshaya Tumatskaya Channel, Lena Delta
March-April 2015: drilling from sea ice (40 m borehole, 5 km east of Bykovsky Peninsula), Buor-Khaya Gulf, Laptev Sea
April 2014: drilling (three boreholes, 4.5 m, 8.3 m and 10.2 m deep, in the Lena Delta – Tumat Channel and Samoylov Island, a 30-m borehole offshore Bykovsky Peninsula – Mamontova Khayata exposure, Ivashkina lagoon, and two boreholes 30 and 40 m in depth, offshore Muostakh Island); temperature measurements in monitoring boreholes; ice, water, and sediment sampling; subbottom geophysical profiling

2020 Field Campaign

Lena Delta: probing to the permafrost table beneath the Lena River channels along nine profiles from Samoylov Island; hydrologic observations in the Arctic tundra watershed, Samoylov (stream water levels and temperatures, soil moisture content and temperatures on the slope, flow measurements, sampling of stream water, suprapermafrost groundwater and ice for chemical and isotopic analyses); and description and sampling of seven yedoma exposures (six on Kurungnaakh Sise Island and one near Tiksi) for grain-size, mineralogical, isotopic, petrographic, micromorphological and SEM analyses

Laptev Sea coast (Muostakh Island and Bykovsky Peninsula): surveying of geomorphic processes and coastal erosion rates at long-term monitoring sites (est. 1982)
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Measuring flow in a small stream near Khabarov meteorological station, Samoylov Island (August 2020) Eroding ice-rich coastline, Muostakh Island monitoring site, Laptev Sea (August 2020) Determining the depth to permafrost from a boat with a 10-m bottom probe, Lena Delta (August 2020)
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Drilling from the river ice, Olenek Channel, Lena Delta (April 2019) Location of borehole lines near Samoylov Island, Lena Delta. Sentinel-2 image (22 August 2019) Drilling from the sea ice, Buor-Khaya Gulf, Laptev Sea (2015).

Permafrost Thermal Research and Monitoring

SB RAS Basic Research Project IX.135.2.1, 2017-2020: Subsurface Temperature Field and Permafrost Transformation in Northern Asia and Central Asian Mountains (Project Director: Mikhail Zhelezniak, DSc)

2020 Field Program:
- data retrieval from existing thermal monitoring sites
- upgrading of instrumentation and drilling of new boreholes
- landscape characterization
- snow surveys
- description and observation of permafrost processes
- in situ measurements of soil and rock thermophysical properties
- sediment, water and ice sampling for laboratory analyses

Elkon Field Team
Field Team Leader (FTL): Anatoly Kirillin
Region: northern Aldan Shield
Dates: March-April, June-July, and October 2020

Churapcha Field Team
FTL: Alexander Zhirkov
Region: P-504 Kolyma Road, KP 176, Churapcha, central Yakutia
Dates: June 2020

Anabar Field Team
FTL: Ivan Misailov
Region: Saskylakh, northern Yakutia
Dates: September-October 2020

Verhkoyansk Field Team
FTL: Robert Sysolyatin
Region: Suntar-Khayata Range
Dates: August 2020

Southern Verkhoyansk Field Team
FTL: Ivan Misailov
Region: Verticalnoe silver field, central Yakutia
Dates: October 2020

South Yakutian Field Team
FTL: Ivan Misailov
Region: Khangalas, Megino-Kangalas, Aldan and Neryungri areas (central and southern Yakutia) and Amur Oblast
Dates: July-August 2020

Igarka Field Team
FTL: Sergey Serikov
Region: northern Yenisey area
Dates: April 2020

Magadan Field Team
FTL: M.S. Rozhina
Region: Ola Pass, Magadan area
Dates: February-March 2020

Central-Yakutian Field Team
FTL: Stepan Varlamov
Region: Khangalas, Menge-Khangalas and Yakutsk areas, central Yakutia
Dates: March, June, September 2020
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Central Yakutia: Dune Fields

Multi-disciplinary studies of Late Quaternary eolian deposits in the Lena and Vilyui River basins

Key sites:

Diring Yuriakh early Paleolithic archaeological site, and Saamys-Kumaga and Kyhyl Elehin Sands, Lena Pillars National Park (2017-2020)
Peschanaya Gora exposure, middle Lena River basin, 100 km downstream of Yakutsk (2017-2020)
Kharyyalakh exposure with evidence of a Younger Dryas climatic catastrophe (12.5 ka), 30 km upstream of the Lena and Aldan confluence (2019-2020)
Ust-Buotama exposure, Lena and Ust-Buotama confluence (2017-2020)
Kysyl-Syr Tukulan and Makhatta Tukulan dune fields, and Muus-Appa Creek valley yedoma, lower Vilyui River basin (2012-2019)
Megin and Tit-Ary mammoth fauna sites (2016-2018)

Field Program:
- Geomorphology, morphometry and soil biology – ground surveys with landform characterization, excavation and description of soil pits and trenches, sample collection for standard soil analysis, wood sampling for dendrochronological analysis, UAV survey
- Cryofacies description of type sections of eolian deposits – cleaning off natural exposures, shallow test pitting, power auger drilling, sampling for grain-size, mineralogical, spore pollen, geochemical, micromorphological and radiocarbon dating analyses
- Ground temperature observations – drilling and instrumentation of boreholes for long-term thermal monitoring, near-surface temperature measurements
- Geophysical surveys – GPR and ERT
- Hydrology and hydrogeology – description of hydrological conditions within the key site, surface streams, intrapermafrost water discharges, frost mounds; ice, water and sediment sampling for hydrochemical and isotope (oxygen, deuterium, tritium) analyses
- Field testing – grain-size sieve analysis; determinations of moisture content, ice content, dry density by the core cutter method
- Biostratigarphy –sample collection for pollen and paleontological analyses
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Embryonal dune field forming on a 35-m-high terrace of the Vilyui River Tukulan dune sands in the Lena River basin Thermokarst due to stripping for a road borrow pit near the Tit-Ary mammoth fauna site
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Fossil fauna findings in the Late Pleistocene yedoma and eolian sediments, lower Vilyui River basin, July 2019 Sediment sampling for OSL-dating, 65-m terrace of the Vilyui River, July 2019 Field team members surveying the Makhatta Tukulan sands, July 2016

Power of Siberia Pipeline: Permafrost-Related Hazard Assessment

Research Project: Permafrost Changes and Potential Effects of Related Hazards on Linear Infrastructure under Changing Climatic Conditions (PI: Vera Samsonova), 2018-2020

2020 Field campaign

March-April: icing morphometry and snow surveys between the Chayanda field and Olekminsk

June-July: geohazard surveys along the entire pipeline route, borehole temperature measurements at monitoring sites, landscape survey of permafrost and icing areas, UAV photogrammetry, and soil and water sampling for hydrochemical analyses.
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Hydrology, Hydrogeology and Geochemistry Investigations

Ground Water Research and Monitoring in Central Yakutia
Project: Understanding the Interaction between Surface and Ground Water in the Formation and Dynamics of Permafrost Landscapes, Component 2 of SB RAS Basic Research Project IX.127.2.3, 2017-2020
Team: N. Tananaev, N. Pavlova (Principal Investigators), V. Ogonerov, V. Efremov, N. Baishev, I. Semenov
Region: Khangalas, Menge-Khangalas and Yakutsk (Middle Lena basin)
2020 field program: on-going monitoring of ground temperature regime, supra-permafrost and intra-permafrost groundwater hydrodynamics and hydrochemistry, icing development in Ulakhan-Taryn Creek valley, Eruu Springs site and Buluus site; year-round hydrogeological and thermal observations of a suprapermafrost subaerial talik at Chabyda site; hydrological and hydrochemical investigations of surface and suprapermafrost waters to estimate runoff components of small streams in central Yakutia; cryopeg levels and dissolved-solids contents in urban areas; lithium contents in subpermafrost aquifers

Icing Dynamics in Chernyshevsky
Team: L. Gagarin, A. Yakimov, S. Vavilov, O. Poezzhaev
Region: Town of Chernyshevsky, western Yakutia
Spring 2020 field program: landscape description, icing morphometry, aerial survey, GPR investigation, ice drilling

Atmospheric Particulate Matter in Yakutsk
Project: Particulate Matter in the Atmosphere of Yakutsk: Origin, Geochemistry, and Health Effects (Project Director: V. Makarov)
Team: N. Torgovkin (Principal Investigator), V. Ogonerov, N. Baishev, V. Efremov
Region: City of Yakutsk
2020 field program: sampling for a geochemical study of particulate matter (PM) in the near-surface atmosphere, soil, and snow cover

Water Balance of Small Streams in a Permafrost Area, North-Western Russia
Project: RRBR-funded project 18-05-60036, 2019-2020
Team: O. Tregubov (Principal Investigator, NEISRI FEB RAS), L. Lebedeva, and V. Shamov
Region: Anadyr Lowland, Chukotka
2020 field program: water level and temperature measurements in streams and water tracks; sampling of surface, snowmelt and suprapermafrost waters (Yanranayvaam River basin)

Anmangynda Icing
Region: Anmangynda River basin, Magadan Oblast
Team: O. Makarieva (Principal Investigator), L. Gagarin, N. Nesterova, A. Zemlyanskova, A. Ostashov
Date: July 2020
2020 field program: standard hydrological measurements in the Anmangynda River and its tributaries; meteorological data collection (air temperature, precipitation, pressure); levelling of gauge datums; landscape profiling of the icing glade; water sampling for isotope and hydrochemical analyses; and UAV photogrammetry
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Alpine Permafrost: Northern Tian Shan

Bolshaya Almatinka, Ili Alatau Range, 2019-2020

Permafrost and seasonal frost thermal monitoring at borehole sites
Rock-glacier studies: ERT, GPR, thermal measurements, melwater isotopic analysis
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Great Norilsk Expedition: Permafrost Component

Region: 29 May 2020 oil spill area, Norilsk, northern Krasnoyarsk Krai
FTL: Sergey Serikov
Dates: August 2020
Field program: permafrost characterization (drilling, ground temperatures, thaw depths, thermal conductivity and heat capacity, surface processes, wedge ice distribution)
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Previous Expeditions